Fish are the earliest extant infraclass with an adaptive immune system based on immunoglobulins (antibody), T-cell receptors and major histocompatibility complex somewhat like our own.

But fish diverged more than 400 million years ago and have taken their own approach to dealing with the problems posed by living in an aquatic environment where high concentrations of aquatic bacteria and viruses continually challenge them.

Why is it interesting to study how fish deal with this threat?

Because it helps us to understand the origins and function of our own immune systems and because aquaculture (fish farming) is the fastest growing food production sector globally yet loses almost 40 per cent production annually to disease.

Better understanding of fish immunology has led to greatly improved disease control in aquaculture and new paradigms in human immunology.

Supervisor: Associate Professor Andrew Barnes