Head of Vector-borne Viral Diseases Programme, The Pirbright Institute
Professor Peter Mertens is Research Leader within the Arbovirus Molecular Research Group, and Head of The Pirbright Institute’s Vector-borne Viral Diseases (VVD) Programme. His group helped with the rapid and successful eradication of BTV-8 from the UK in 2008 for which they were recognised by being awarded the prestigious ‘Innovator of the Year’ award (2013) from the UK government’s ‘Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council’ (BBSRC). In 1998 his group was responsible for development of novel diagnostic assays and epidemiology studies used to identify and track the bluetongue outbreaks spreading across Europe. Similar vaccination campaigns were also successful in Northern Europe during 2008-2010.
Professor Mertens also played a central role (with colleagues from the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics in Oxford) in work to determine of the atomic structure of the bluetongue virus particle by x-ray crystallography, one of the largest single molecular structures determined to date.