Dr Nicholas Svitek is a biologist specialized in the field of virology and immunology. He joined ILRI in February 2011 as a postdoctoral scientist in reverse vaccinology, became scientist in 2014 and then senior scientist in 2019.
Prior to this, Nicholas had been working at Duke-National University of Singapore (NUS) in the Emerging Infectious Diseases (EID) research program as a postdoctoral research fellow in virology as well as a team leader for an international cooperation project in Mali, with the “Quebec without Borders” program. Nicholas brings to ILRI many years of experience studying the molecular biology of viral infections and viral pathogenesis in animal models, more specifically with the orthoreovirus, the orthomyxovirus, hepadnaviruses, flaviviruses and morbilliviruses.
Nicholas’ research interests revolve around the immune response towards vaccines and infectious pathogens; virus-host interactions; antigen delivery systems; on the biology, pathogenesis and molecular epidemiology of animal viruses; and in applied research for development.
He leads several projects on Theileria parva [the causative agent of East Coast fever (ECF)], the African swine fever (ASF) virus, Bluetongue virus (BTV), Peste-des-Petits-ruminants (PPR) virus, and on Rift Valley fever (RVF) virus vaccination. He recently secured funding for a project he is leading on the use of bacteriophages (bacterial viruses) as a One Health approach for the replacement of antibiotics, and reduction of drug-resistant nontyphoidal Salmonella, in poultry farms in Kenya. His work has resulted in more than 50 research outputs including scientific publications, book chapters, briefs, conference proceedings and papers presented at international scientific conferences.
Nicholas holds BSc and MSc degrees in Microbiology and Immunology from the University of Montreal (Canada), as well as a PhD degree in Virology and Immunology from the INRS-IAF/University of Quebec (Canada), a member institute of the "Institut Pasteur International Network". He also completed a Certificate of training in Genome Engineering & CRISPR-Cas Technology at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Germany. Nicholas is Canadian.
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