Researcher biography

Prof Tim Mahony joined QAAFI's Centre for Animal Science in October 2010, after 15 years of conducting research projects with the Queensland Government. He obtained his PhD from James Cook University in the area of molecular microbiology. During 2001 and 2002, Prof Mahony was a visiting professor at the University of Saskatchewan.

Research interests

Dr Mahony's research interests are in the area of molecular virology revolving around improving viral disease control in production animals such as cattle and poultry. His group is characterising the molecular interactions between invading pathogens and the subsequent host responses with the goal of developing new vaccines and diagnostic technologies. A key component of this work includes improving the basic understanding of the molecular mechanisms that underpin and drive viral virulence and evolution. Next-generation sequencing has been used to sequence the genomes of herpesviruses and adenoviruses from a variety of species including, cattle, chickens, marsupials, horses, and crocodiles. Prof Mahony's team is also investigating the role of virally encoded microRNAs in virulence, replication, and disease development. His group was one of the first in the world to apply bacterial artificial chromosome infectious clone technology for the efficient manipulation of herpesviruses that have large DNA genomes. These strategies are also being exploited to understand viral gene function and the development of vaccines.

Currently, Prof Mahony is researching risk factors that protect and predispose feedlot cattle to developing bovine respiratory disease (BRD). He is also leading the development of new vaccines for BRD and cattle tick infestations. Prof Mahony has also led the development of new vaccine delivery technologies for the poultry industry targeting the application of in ovo strategies. Prof Mahony research into improving animal health is increasing industry productivity, food safety, and consumer confidence in food products and he is keen to explore collaborations with other scientists in this area.

Prof Mahony has a strong interest to work with post-graduate students and has supervised a number of post-graduate students from Australia and overseas. These projects have covered research areas in molecular virology, animal health, vaccine development, and pathogen-host interactions.