Dr. Victoria Smyth

Dr. Victoria Smyth is presently a Senior Scientist at the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute in Belfast, managing the Avian Virology Unit and the Cell Culture Group at the Veterinary Sciences Division of AFBI, previously known as the Stormont Laboratories. Dr. Smyth graduated from the Queen’s University of Belfast, UK, with a first class honours degree in genetics. She continued her studies at Queen’s University earning a doctorate in molecular biology for a project where she characterized the expression of a novel human gene upregulated during erythropoiesis and investigated its function. She worked as a post-doctoral fellow for 4 years characterising strains of chicken astrovirus circulating in broiler flocks and developing novel molecular and serological diagnostic tests for chicken astrovirus and avian nephritis virus.  Her research follows on from diagnostic investigations into commercial poultry problems including broiler hatchery disease causing reduced hatches and substantial mortality as well as acute and chronic production disease of broiler meat chickens due to endemic, enteric viruses, including the problem of uneven flock growth. These early viral infections result in reduced bodymass and stunted growth often with increased culling of young birds. She uses next generation sequencing and viral metagenomics to investigate the communities of viruses restricting bird growth and is focused on developing appropriate control measures, including vaccines. Dr Smyth is also interested in how early viral infections, which can cause intestinal lesions and can adversely affect the gut architecture resulting in shortening and clubbing of villi, impact upon later bacterial imbalances and also the role of bacteriophage in maintaining the microbial balance. As well as managing a team of permanent scientific staff, Dr Smyth supervises Ph.D students.

Victoria Smyth publications

Posted in RT Diseases (modeling, prevention and investigation), RT Laboratory Diagnosis of Diseases, Team Members.