Research Area 1: Improved understanding of epidemic and emerging infectious animal diseases
The Tick Cell Biobank at the University of Liverpool is the world's only dedicated culture collection for cell lines derived from ticks and other arthropods (https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/infection-and-global-health/research/tick-cell-biobank/). As well as housing and distributing existing cell lines, we are generating novel cell lines from ticks and other arthropods (midges, mosquitoes, sand flies, tsetse flies, triatomid bugs, honey bees) of veterinary, medical and/or agricultural importance. Arthropod cell lines are increasingly important and valuable tools for research into vector-pathogen interactions and arthropod control, as well as vehicles for isolation, propagation and study of arthropod-borne bacteria and arboviruses.
We are interested in any collaboration that could make use of any of our existing panel of tick, midge, sand fly and mosquito cell lines. Cell lines are provided to collaborators under Material Transfer Agreements, and we also provide training in their maintenance and ongoing advice and support, to facilitate successful transfer and establishment of the cell lines in a new laboratory.
Of particular interest to this funding call are cell lines derived from the ticks Ornithodoros moubata, the natural reservoir and vector of African swine fever virus (ASFV), and Rhipicephalus microplus, previously reported to support limited replication of ASFV.
The Tick Cell Biobank is housed within the Institute of Infection and Global Health (IGH) at the University of Liverpool. IGH has the mission to improve the health of humans and animals by tackling key infectious diseases in both UK and global contexts. IGH brings together expertise in veterinary and human infectious disease with a “One Health” vision, and is a major partner in multiple UK-overseas research programmes. The Tick Cell Biobank is located in a dedicated laboratory with additional access to two other BSL2 tissue culture laboratories, molecular biology laboratories and compound and inverted microscopes with digital imaging facilities. Within the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, IGH also has access to a number of core facilities under the umbrella of the Technology Directorate. These include the Centre for Genome Research equipped with Illumina (NovaSeq 6000, MiSeqs, iSeq) and PacBio next-generation sequencers, the Computational Biology Facility, the Centre for Proteome Research, the Cell Sorting and Mass Cytometry Facility, and the Biomedical Electron Microscopy Unit. For administration of the MTAs required for distribution of arthropod cell lines nationally and worldwide, UoL has a dedicated Legal and Compliance Department.