Simon Graham is a highly accomplished Group Leader at The Pirbright Institute, residing in the United Kingdom. He obtained his PhD from LSTM in 1998.
Simon's journey in the field of scientific research began with a post-doctoral position at the Centre for Tropical Veterinary Medicine at the University of Edinburgh. There, he focused on developing improved rapid screening of cell line vaccines for tropical Theileriosis. Eager to make a significant impact in the field of veterinary research, Simon then ventured to the International Livestock Research Institute in Kenya. During his time there, he played a crucial role in identifying and evaluating subunit vaccine candidates against East Coast fever.
Returning to the UK, Simon joined the Animal and Plant Health Agency, where he led research on immunology and vaccines related to viral diseases of livestock. He later assumed a joint position between the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Surrey and The Pirbright Institute. Eventually, in 2019, Simon made Pirbright his permanent home to focus entirely on leading his research group.
Simon's decision to pursue his PhD at LSTM was motivated by his passion for immunology in the context of parasite infections and veterinary research. The project, supervised by Prof Ted Bianco and Prof Sandy Trees, aimed to develop a natural cattle model of onchocerciasis to understand immune responses and evaluate vaccines, aligning perfectly with his interests.
During his time at LSTM, Simon found inspiration from the passionate individuals committed to making a tangible impact with their scientific endeavours. Fond memories include the camaraderie among colleagues, such as Friday night pints in the Post Office pub and the festive fancy dress Christmas parties in the lab tearoom.
The education Simon received at LSTM proved to be the foundation for his successful career in science. It instilled in him valuable skills, increased his confidence, and shaped his personal goals and aspirations.
Currently, Simon leads the Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS) Immunology research group at The Pirbright Institute. In this role, he is at the forefront of developing and delivering a research program focused on understanding the immunology of PRRS virus infection and facilitating the development of more effective vaccines. He continues to secure funding from both public agencies and the animal health industry for his research portfolio. Notably, his group is actively working on developing a vaccine to safeguard pigs against the zoonotic Nipah virus.
Simon's expertise extends beyond his research group; he also leads the work program linking Fc and Fc-receptor function in multiple livestock species as part of the Pirbright Antibody Hub. Additionally, he holds the esteemed position of Co-Director of the International Veterinary Vaccinology Network.
For prospective students considering LSTM, Simon advises them to foster connections beyond their immediate group, as these relationships can prove beneficial both during their time at LSTM and throughout their careers.