Professor Mark Fox
Department: Pathobiology and Population Sciences
Research Groups: Pathogen Flow in Ecosystems, Host-Pathogen Interactions and Vaccinology, IRLFS (Research Programme)
Mark currently leads veterinary parasitology teaching at the College and has longstanding research interests in the pathophysiology, epidemiology and control of parasite infections in both domestic and wild animals.
Mark graduated with a BVetMed degree from the Royal Veterinary College in 1977 and, after a short period in small animal practice, obtained a PhD in Veterinary Parasitology from the College in 1982. He was appointed Lecturer in Veterinary Parasitology later the same year, promoted to Senior Lecturer in 1994 and to Professor of Veterinary Parasitology in 2010. He co-founded and acted as Co-Director for Masters Courses in Wild Animal Health (1994) and Wild Animal Biology (2003), in collaboration with the Institute of Zoology (Zoological Society of London), and took over as Director of the College's Contract Research Unit from 2006 to 2014. Mark was awarded a C. Alma Baker Fellowship in 2000 to support a sabbatical period at Massey University in New Zealand, to study mechanisms of appetite depression in Ostertagia-infected ruminants. He was elected a Diplomate Member of the European Veterinary Parasitology College and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in 2003, an RCVS Specialist in Veterinary Parasitology in 2017 and a Fellow of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons in 2020. Mark's current research focuses on the epidemiology and control of parasite infections in domestic and wild animals. He is a member of the Editorial Board for the Journal of Comparative Pathology.
Mark’s initial research interests focussed on the epidemiology of roundworm parasitism in lactating dairy cows though soon expanded to include the pathophysiology of such infections in growing calves. He established the significance of inappetance as a cause of poor weight gain and went on to investigate the cause of anorexia in animals infected with the abomasal nematode, Ostertagia ostertagi. Mark investigated new approaches to the control of such infections in the field with Dennis Jacobs and later studied the use of new chemotherapeutic agents in the control of fleas in small animals.
His interest in parasite epidemiology has led to studies on blowfly myiasis in rabbits, Giardia and Cryptosporidium infections in dogs and warble fly infestation in wild deer in collaboration with colleagues in the universities of Bari (Italy), Bristol and Cambridge, Agri-Food Canada (Lethbridge, Canada), the Forestry Commission, the Natural History Museum (London) and in the Epidemiology Group at the Royal Veterinary College. More recently, Mark's research has, in collaboration, established the geographical distribution and presence of 'hot spots' of lungworm Infection (Angiostrongylus vasorum) in dogs in the UK and the potential importance of the red fox as a wild animal reservoir of this parasite. Working with Dr. Hannah Norgate (nee Wickenden), Prof. Damer Blake, Dr. Kim Stevens, and Dr. Corrine Austin, Dr. Kirsty Lightbody and Prof. Paul Davis (Austin Davis Biologics Ltd.), he has also added significantly to our knowledge of the epidemiology of tapeworm infection (Anoplocephala spp.) in horses. The research has established (i) the range of different pasture (oribatid) mites, that may act as intermediate hosts in the tapeworm life cycle, found on horse-grazed pastures; (ii) which of these mite families act as host to the tapeworm on our study premises; (iii) distinct patterns of seasonal expsoure to Anoplocephala infection in grazing horses; and (iv) the value of salivary anti-Anoplocephala antibody levels in horses as an indirect indicator of exposure and factors that affect the risk of infection at pasture.
Mark was awarded the William Hunting medal, with Neil Forbes in 2005, for the best paper published in the Veterinary Record describing research conducted in general veterinary practice.
Recent papers accepted for publication:
Blanch-Lázaro, B., Mitton, Z., Tudor, C., Hindle, J., Martineau, H., Fox, M.T., Blake, D.P. (2018) Genetic diversity and population structure of Angiostrongylus vasorum parasites within and between local urban foxes (Vulpes vulpes). Veterinary Parasitology 262, 42-46
Rosanowski, S.M., Banica, M., Ellis, E., Farrow, E.C.M., Harwood, C., Jordan, B., James, C., McKenna, D., Fox, M.T., Blake, D.P. (2018) The molecular characterization of Cryptosporidium species in relinquished dogs in Great Britain: a novel zoonotic risk? Parasitology Research 117, 1663-1667
Fox, M., Blake, D., Jacobs, D. (2018) Veterinary parasitology teaching at London – Meeting the ‘Day-One Competency’ needs of new veterinarians. Veterinary Parasitology 254, 131-134
Nolan, M.J., Unger, M., Yeap, Y-T., Rogers, E., Millet, I., Harman, K., Fox, M., Kalema-Zikusoka, G., Blake, D.P. (2017) Molecular characterisation of protist parasites in human-habituated mountain gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei), humans and livestock, from Bwindi impenetrable National Park, Uganda. Parasites & Vectors 10, 340
Clark, A., Silva-Fletcher, A., Fox, M.t., Kreuzer, M., Clauss, M. (2016) Survey of feeding practices, body condition and faeces consistency in captive ant-eating mammals in the UK. Journal of Zoo and Aquarium Research 4, 183-195
Aher, A.M., Caudill, D., Caudill, G., Butryn, R.S., Wolf, D. Fox, M.T., Blake, D.P., Cunningham, M.W. (2016) Occurrence, Distribution, and Ecological Factors Associated with Heartworm (Dirofilaria immitis) Infection in Wild Coyotes (Canis latrans) From Florida, USA. Journal of Wildlife Diseases (on-line publication, 52 (4) 785-792
Fournié, G., Goodman, S.J., Cruz, M., Cedeño, V., Vélez, A., Millins, C., Gibbons, L.M., Fox, M.T., Cunningham, A.A. (2015) Biogeography of parasitic nematode communities in giant Galápagos tortoise: implications for conservation management. PLOS ONE 10 (9):e0135684
Giannelli, A., Colella, V., Abramo, F., Ramos do Nascimento Ramos, R., Falsone, L., Brianti, E., Varcasia, A., Dantas-Torres, F., Knaus, M., Fox, M.T., Otranto, D. (2015) Alternative transmission pathways for feline lungworms. PLOS Neglected Tropical Disease (PNTD-D-15-00082R1) - [EMID:46ac36b0bdc7c5e3]
Patel, Z., Gill, A.C., Fox, M.T., Hermosilla, C., Backeljau, T., Breugelmans, K., Keevash, E., McEwan, c., Aghazadeh, m., Elson-Riggins, j.g. (2014) Molecular identification of novel intermediate host species of Angiostrongylus vasorum in Greater London. Parasitology Research 113, 4363-4369
Kirk, L., Limon, G., Guitian, J., Hermosilla, C., Fox, M.T. (2014) Angiostrongylus vasorum in United Kingdom mainland – a nationwide postal questionnaire survey. Veterinary Record 175, 118
Conference papers delivered 01/09/2015 to 31/08/2018:
Fox, M.T. (2018) Canine angiostrongylosis – cause for concern? Deutsche Veterinärmedizinische Gesellschaft (German Veterinary Parasitology Conference), 2-4 July 2018, Giessen (Plenary speaker)
Fox, M.T., Blake, D., Jacobs, D.E. (2017) Veterinary Parasitology Teaching at London – Meeting the Needs of Our New Graduates. World Association for the Advancement of Veterinary Parasitology, 4-8 September 2017, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (Invited speaker)
Fox, M.T., Martineau, H., Allanson, E., Campbell, E., Crosby, T., Durant, S., Hambling, C., Hindle, J., Hughes, S., Lee, C., Satirovici, A., Tudor, C., Blake, D., (2017) Seasonal variation in Angiostrongylus vasorum in red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) in the Greater London area. World Association for the Advancement of Veterinary Parasitology, 4-8 September 2017, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Mark leads the Veterinary Parasitology teaching in various modules on the BVetMed, BVetMed Graduate Accelerated, BSc Bioveterinary Science, Intercalated BSc Comparative Pathology, BSc Veterinary Nursing and two Masters degree courses. He also supervises research projects on several of these courses, a number of which have resulted in presentations given at international conferences and publications in peer-reviewed scientific journals. Mark has taught and examined in veterinary parasitology, at under- and postgraduate levels, at other universities both in the UK and abroad and, until recently, acted as External Examiner for the Masters course in Global Wildlife Health and Conservation at the University of Bristol. He was awarded the individual RVC Jim Bee Educator prize in 1998, 2009 and 2014 (silver award) and the team prize in 2004 for excellence in teaching.
Mark provides advice on veterinary parasitology and education matters on an ad hoc basis to veterinary practitioners, the pharmaceutical industry, animal charities, government departments, members of the public and the media.
He acts as a referee for a wide range of peer-reviewed journals, as expert reviewer for the World Association for the Advancement of Veterinary Parasitology (WAAVP) and as an external assessor for the Royal Society of New Zealand and The Leverhulme Trust.
Mark attends and speaks at secondary school careers days and provides guidance to pupils completing their UCAS forms.
He has also given talks on veterinary medicine at his local church to both the congregation and young people’s groups (Pathfinders).