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Mohd Muzafar

Hello and welcome to my eportfolio!

I am a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the School of life Sciences, University of Warwick working in the group of Dr. Orin Courtenay. My project “Field Trials of Synthetic Sandfly Sex Pheromone to Reduce Human Visceral Leishmaniasis” is funded by the Welcome Trust, UK. The project involves use of various immunological and molecular techniques for detection of Leishmania parasite in blood, serum, buffy coat etc and determine potential antigens for vaccine development against Leishmaniasis.

I completely my PhD in Biological Sciences in 2015 under the supervision of Prof. Elizabeth Wellington and Prof. Laura Green.

During my PhD, I studied ''The transmission, survival and genetic variability of Dichelobacter nodosus, causal agent of ovine foot disease".

Ovine footrot is an infectious disease of sheep which causes serious economic losses to countries worldwide and costs the UK £84 M per annum. For effective control of this disease which is a major animal welfare issue, it is essential to study mechanisms of transmission. One of the key aims of the project was to improve our understanding of the potential for D. nodosus, the causal agent, transmission via the environment within a flock of ewes and lambs. Newborn lambs were free from D. nodosus presence but rapidly became contaminated with D. nodosus within 5-13 h after birth as detected using the specific molecular markers rpoD and 16S rRNA gene. The likely source of contamination of lambs was the straw bedding from the communal pens. A diverse population of D. nodosus was observed on the feet of ewes and lambs as determined by the presence of multiple strains with variable number of pgrA tandem repeats in the R1 region. This was further supported by MLVA typing of the isolates which also indicated high variation in the alleles present on the ewes and lambs. The primary aim was to determine if multiple strains present on the ewes were vertically transmitted to the lambs. This work has clearly demonstrated that no vertical transmission occurred between ewes and lambs and some strains but not all were shared between ewe and its lamb suggesting transmission from their mother or other ewes sharing the same lambing pen. D. nodosus was detected in a range of environmental samples such as bedding, faecal balls compacted within the interdigital space and soil suggesting that shedding into the environment is the main route of D. nodosus transmission. Survival studies provided evidence that the pathogen persisted in soil microcosms for at least 40 days with viable cells persisting for a minimum of 30 days in four soil types. A lower temperature of 5 oC and clay soil was associated with longer duration of survival. SNP analysis of isolates from the ewes and lambs indicated that two main clonal populations existed that represented two clusters α and β within clade I, a virulent clade from the recent genome study including 103 global D. nodosus strains. No UK strains grouped with the benign clade II. Previous diversity studies on the isolates indicated diversity in MLVA types, pgr alleles and pgrA tandem repeats but these did not correlate with the clustering; clusters α and β contained a mix of pgrA and pgrB but both were in clade I. This conflicts with the role of pgrB as a non-virulent allele although pgrA expression was induced by hoof horn in vitro whereas pgrB was not. The work reported in this thesis has improved our understanding of the environmental transmission of D. nodosus between sheep, longevity of the pathogen in soil and diversity of strain in the UK.

Past Research

I have a master's in Vet. Microbiology and Immunology


''To develop a serogroup B specific whole cell killed vaccine against virulent footrot and evaluation of its humoral immune response in natural host sheep''

We report a first ever trial of serogroup B specific whole cell killed vaccine against footrot in India. The vaccine was evaluated in sheep using two different adjuvants M1 and M2 (Montanide oil). Two doses of vaccine were administered 30 days apart to healthy as well as infected sheep. The vaccine was found to be effective therapeutically as well as prophylactically. More than half of the footrot affected sheep recovered after day 30, while the rest recovered after one week of the booster. In both healthy as well as infected sheep, the protective agglutinin titre remained for about four months. The sheep were followed for 6 months and none of the cases showed any signs of the disease. M2 vaccine produced significantly higher agglutination titre than M1 vaccine. Considering the highest amount of agglutinin titre and serum IgG levels, M2 vaccine is highly recommended for prevention and control of footrot in India.

International Conferences

  • Gave a talk at Vetpath 2014, 3nd Prato Conference on the Pathogenesis of Bacterial Diseases of Animals 7th - 10th October 2014 held in Prato, Italy

  • Presented a poster at the 15th International Symposium on Microbial Ecology, ISME15, 24-29 August 2014 held in Seoul, South Korea.

  • Presented a poster at Vetpath 2012, 2nd Prato Conference on the Pathogenesis of Bacterial Diseases of Animals 9th - 12th October 2012 held in Prato, Italy

  • Presented a poster at the 14th International Symposium on Microbial Ecology, ISME14, 19-24 August 2012 held in Bella Centre, Copenhagen, Denmark

  • Presented a poster at Molecular Microbiology and Ecology conference, 13th -14th December, 2011 held at University of Portsmouth, Southampton, United Kingdom

Honours and Awards

  • Recepient of the best talk award and a student scholarship at the Postgraduate Symposium, School of Life Sciences, University of Warwick 2014.

  • Recepient of Society of General Microbiology President's Fund for Research Visit grants 2013.

  • Recepient of the best poster award and a student scholarship at the Postgraduate Symposium, School of Life Sciences, University of Warwick 2013

  • Recepient of Warwick University Award, Chancellor's International Scholarship 2011 - 2014.

  • Recepient of a poster award and a student scholarship at Vetpath 2012, 2nd Prato Conference on the Pathogenesis of Bacterial Diseases of Animals, Prato, Italy 2012.

Workshops attended

  • Workshop on “Pyrosequencing” at School of Life Sciences, Wellesbourne Campus, University of Warwick, Coventry , United Kingdom on the 23rd of Nov, 2011

  • Two day workshop for Researchers on “Antibiotic Resistance Mechanisms” organized by British Society of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy at Hilton Birmingham Metropole, National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham, United Kingdom from 24th – 25th Nov, 2011


  • Society of General Microbiology, United Kingdom


  • Survival of the footrot pathogen Dichelobacter nodosus in different soils. Muzafar M, Green LE, Calvo-Bado LA, Tichauer E, King H, James P, Wellington EW (Accepted in Anaerobe. 2015 Dec 30). pii: S1075-9964 (15) 30098-6. doi: 10.1016/j.anaerobe.2015.12.010.

  • The role of the environment in transmission of Dichelobacter nodosus between ewes and their lambs. Muzafar M, Calvo-Bado LA, Green LE, Smith ES, Russell CL, Grogono-Thomas, R, Wellington EMH. (Veterinary Microbiology. 2015 Aug 31; 53-9). doi: 10.1016/j.vetmic.2015.04.010. Epub 2015 Apr 22.

  • Non-specificity of primers used for PCR based serogrouping of Dichelobacter nodosus and identification of a novel D. nodosus strain. Bhat MA, Wani SA, Muzafar M, Rather MA, Taku AK, Khandey F. Anaerobe. 2013 Jun;21:58-61. doi: 10.1016/j.anaerobe.2013.03.009. Epub 2013 Mar 29.

  • A clinical trial comparing parenteral oxytetracyline and enrofloxacin on time to recovery in sheep lame with acute or chronic footrotin Kashmir, India. Kaler J, Wani SA, Hussain I, Beg SA, Makhdoomi M,Kabli ZA, Green LE. BMC Vet Res. 2012 Jan 31; 8:12.

  • Identification of two new serotypes within serogroup B of Dichelobacter nodosus. Bhat MA, Wani SA, Hussain I, Magray SN, Muzafar M. Anaerobe. 2012 Feb: 18(1):91-5. Epub 2011 Dec 16.



Mohd Muzafar


PhD Funding: Chancellor's International Scholarship