Ivan Morrison


The Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh

Biography – Professor Ivan Morrison


Following graduation in veterinary medicine from the University of Glasgow in 1972 and subsequent completion of a PhD in the same University, I joined the newly established International Laboratory for Research on Animal Diseases (ILRAD) in Nairobi in 1975. My initial research focused on immunity and genetics of susceptibility to trypanosome infections. In the early 1980s, I switched my attention to the bovine protozoan parasite Theileria parva and built up a research group to study the mechanisms of immunity to this parasite, with the eventual aim of devising novel methods of vaccination. Our research demonstrated that immunity is mediated by T cell responses and specifically identified the importance of CD8 T cells both in providing protection and determining the strain specificity of immunity. This work laid much of the foundation for subsequent research on subunit vaccine development for this parasite. In 1990, I returned to the UK as Head of the Division of Immunology at the Institute for Animal Health, where I was involved in immunological research on a number pathogens of livestock. I joined the University of Edinburgh in 2002 and re-established a research group working on immunity to Theileria parasites. Our research has continued to focus on understanding how different components of the immune response to Theileria contribute to immunity or enhanced pathology and how defined parasite antigens can be used to induce immunity. Our current specific research interests include understanding the relative roles of magnitude and functional competence of CD8 T cell responses in providing immunity, the requirement of CD4 T cell help in induction and recall of CD8 responses, the processing pathways involved in presentation of antigen by parasitized cells and the factors that determine CD8 T cell antigen immunodominance hierarchies.

Research interests

Immunology of infectious diseases of ruminants and vaccine development.