Dr Mark Fielder is the director of Kingston University's Medical, Veterinary and Food Microbiology Research Group. His recent work has looked at the development of technology to test bovine respiratory diseases in the field, providing farmers and vets with quick results on the health status of their livestock. Rapid detection prevents the spread of disease amongst herds, improving welfare and potentially preventing economic loss in the agricultural industry.
Dr Fielder has been able to show that the current test for the detection of the Mycoplasma bovis disease takes around four hours at a cost of around £6, but new technology could do the same test with increased sensitivity in 30 minutes for around £1.50. This is likely to improve with further development and testing with partners Sensortec and the Veterinary Laboratories Agency.
This technology is not limited to the agricultural sector and as a result of the funding for this project, other wider and more human medicine based opportunities have arisen. This is an area of great potential – in 2008/09 the UK tax payer paid £108 million to address bacterial diseases such as respiratory infections.
Dr Fielder is currently working on the detection of superbug MRSA and is writing a proposal for a project on identifying agents that cause meningitis.