Mark Fife PhD

Pirbright Institute

Dr. Mark Fife leads the Genetics and Genomics group at The Pirbright Institute. He is a complex-disease geneticist with extensive experience in complex trait analysis (QTL and association studies), candidate gene mapping and molecular biology techniques. He has produced over 45 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters in this area before becoming a group leader at the Institute. His work has been the focus of extensive genome-wide and haplotype analysis using web-based SNP selector software that he has implemented at Pirbright. This work has culminated in the identification and characterisation of several causal genes for important immune traits in chickens. His current research found a group of related genes called the interferon-inducible transmembrane (IFITM) genes, that are able to prevent viruses from attacking and killing host cells. The aim of his groups work is to determine the biology and genetic variation of these and similar immune genes in chickens; specifically, the ability of these genes to protect the host against avian viruses. The output of this work will be in identifying specific gene variants that correlate with resistance to a number of avian viruses, thus allowing poultry breeding programmes to select robust chickens, able to fight viral infections.