Venugopal K. Nair

  • Born: 1955 (India)
  • Inducted: 2013
Born in Kerala, South India, Venugopal (Venu) Nair obtained his veterinary qualification (1976) and MVM (1978) from the Kerala Agricultural University. He joined the Faculty of Veterinary & Animal Sciences as an Assistant Professor in Veterinary Medicine in 1978, and qualified with a post-graduate Diploma in Virology from the University of Poona in 1981. After obtaining a PhD in Veterinary Medicine from the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (1987), Chennai, India, he was a post-doctoral scientist at the prestigious Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. In 1989, Prof Nair moved to the United Kingdom to the Institute of Virology, Oxford as a post-doctoral research fellow. During his 6-year tenure at Oxford, he investigated the molecular biology of flaviviruses important to human and veterinary medicine.

In 1994, he moved to Jim Payne’s group at the Pirbright Institute (previously Institute for Animal Health), Compton to work on avian oncogenic viruses. Following Dr Payne’s retirement, he became the Head of the Avian Oncogenic Virus group and carried out extensive studies on Marek’s disease and avian leukosis virus subgroup J. Currently he is the Head of the Avian Viral Diseases Programme at the Pirbright Institute, overseeing the research on avian virology and immunology. His research is focused mainly on unraveling the molecular mechanisms of oncogenesis and has made major contributions to our understanding of how avian oncogenic viruses induce tumours. He has published more than 120 scientific publications and several book chapters in this area. He has also served as an Editor of Avian Pathology, and is currently one of the Associate Editors of the 13th Edition of the Diseases of Poultry. Prof Nair is the designated expert of the Office International des Epizooties Reference Centre on Marek’s disease.

Prof Nair holds Visiting Professorships at Imperial College London and at the University of Liverpool, and is also Investigator at the Jenner Institute, Oxford. His contribution to avian diseases was recognised through the Tom Newman Award by the British Poultry Council.

Outside work, Venu enjoys all forms of sports, particularly cricket and football. He lives in Oxford with his wife Geetha and daughter Sangeetha.

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