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Munir Iqbal


Professor Munir Iqbal is head of the Avian Influenza Virus (AIV) group at The Pirbright Institute and Visiting Professor at the Royal Veterinary College, London. Munir obtained Veterinary Medicine and MPhil degrees in Pakistan and a PhD in Biotechnology at Imperial College London in 1991. He worked as postdoctoral researcher at the University of Liverpool and the University of St Andrews, before joining the Institute in 1996. Currently, he is leading a number of research projects aimed to define the impact of evolutionary molecular changes on AIV antigenicity, pathogenicity and cross-species transmission and the development of new vaccines and diagnostics for better control of avian viral diseases (including avian influenza, Newcastle disease, infectious bronchitis, and Gumboro disease). His work contributed to defining the evolutionary mechanisms of adaptation of wild bird-origin AIV in poultry. Identified host-restrictions factors that determine avian-origin influenza virus replication fitness in mammalian species. His studies defined how H5, H7 and H9 AIV evade vaccine immunity, data is being used for vaccine matching and seed selection. He developed novel multivalent vaccination approaches exploiting viral vectors, targeted delivery of antigens to immune cells and passive immunizations providing rapid and long-lasting immunity in chickens. These improved poultry vaccination approaches showing promise in overcoming the inherent drawbacks of conventional inactivated virus vaccines. His group also developed novel pen-side rapid tests for differential diagnosis of poultry diseases. Altogether, his research enhanced the understanding of the influenza virus pathobiology and improved the tools to reduce their impact on both poultry and human health. More details on his research group, on-going research project and publication details can be found in the weblink below.