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Basic Research and Anthrax Vaccine Exploration

Cardiff University

Founded in 1883, Cardiff University is established as one of Britain’s leading universities. As a member of the Russell Group, the University is recognised as one of twenty four research intensive Universities in the UK. Our world leading research expertise and facilities are used by industry and commercial partners, government bodies and other organisations internationally.

The University has won the Queen’s Anniversary Prize on five occasions, including the 2007 prize for work identifying genetic causes of diseases and developing new diagnostic tests and treatments. We hold two Nobel Prize laureates, nine fellowships of the Royal Society and our Research Institutes pursue new scientific approaches to some of the world’s most pressing concerns. The Cardiff School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences’ research plays a critical role in breast cancer breakthrough, and pioneering the development of plant derived drugs to treat antibiotic resistant hospital pathogens.
The Cardiff School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences has cultivated a strong tradition of innovative pharmaceutical education, scientific research and service to the pharmacy profession. We were the first school of pharmacy to be awarded an ‘excellent’ for the quality of our teaching and learning in the Teaching Quality Assessment, and pharmacy teaching at Cardiff always features at the top of national league tables of excellence. In the 2009 National Student Survey, we were ranked joint first of all the UK schools of pharmacy for overall satisfaction, and our graduates consistently perform highly in the registration examination of the UK Pharmacy regulator.

Prof Baillie is an international expert on the bacterium Bacillus anthracis, the causative agent of anthrax and its illicit use as a bio-weapon. Since joining the Chemical and Biological Defence Establishment at Porton Down in 1991 the development of therapeutics to combat the threat of anthrax has been a central strand of his research career which to date has seen two human anthrax vaccines enter clinical trials. Following a decade at Porton Down as the anthrax research group leader he moved to the US in 2002 where he established a Biodefense Medical Countermeasures Department for the U.S. Navy. The group focused on the development of rapid detection assays and therapeutics such as vaccines and human monoclonal antibodies targeted against a range of bio-threat agents. He returned to the UK in 2007 to join Cardiff University and currently leads a number of anthrax related projects funded by the UK and the US governments as well at the European Union and NATO. These projects range from characterising the human immune response to anthrax to underpin the development of next generation vaccines, novel therapeutics and diagnostics to the development of environmentally friendly spore decontamination approaches which could be used to clean up a site following a natural or illicit release. In recent years Prof Baillie has diversified his research interests to include the spore forming bacterial pathogen Clostridium difficile which is structurally similar to Bacillus anthracis and is currently the principal cause of hospital acquired infection in the UK. He also served as the co-lead of the diagnostic group of the Welsh assembly government funded Microbiology & Infection Translational Research Group which seek to accelerate the development of technologies such as Point of Care diagnostics which are likely to benefit the health of the people of Wales.