Dr Alana Thackray

Alana Thackray

University position

Senior Research Associate

Dr Alana Thackray is pleased to consider applications from prospective PhD students.


Department of Veterinary Medicine



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Research Themes

Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

Clinical and Veterinary Neuroscience


Prion diseases, or transmissible spongiform encephalopathies, are infectious, fatal,

neurodegenerative conditions of humans and animal species including scrapie in sheep, bovine spongiform encephalopathy in cattle and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans.

Our current research focus is:

(a) prion strain analysis at the molecular and biochemical level

(b) determination of the sensitivity of ovine PrP transgenic Drosophila to ovine prion infectivity

(c) the use of ovine PrP transgenic Drosophila to strain type ovine prions

(d) the reduction and replacement of mammals in bioassays

We are interested in prion disease pathogenesis, transmission and therapeutic strategy including defining the nature of the infectious agent, determining the molecular basis of prion strain diversity, and understanding the conversion of PrPC into PrPSc,

An exciting new area of our research is the generation of an invertebrate model of mammalian prion disease utilising Drosophila transgenic for ovine PrP.

Research Focus




transmissible spongiform encephalopathies

protein misfolding


Clinical conditions

Neurodegenerative disorders

Prion diseases

Protein misfolding diseases


Behavioural analysis

Cell culture

Computational modelling

Confocal microscopy

Flow cytometry

Fluorescence microscopy





Protein purification

Recombinant protein expression



David Burke

Ulrich Keyser

Matthias Landgraf

United Kingdom

John Spiropoulos Web: http://www.defra.gov.uk/corpora...


Daniel Cox Web: http://www.physics.ucdavis.edu/

Edward Hoover Web: http://www.cvmbs.colostate.edu/

Michael Klein Web: http://www.uni-wuerzburg.de/

Associated News Items

    Key publications

    Thackray AM, Di Y, Zhang C, Wolf H, Pradl L, Vorberg I, Andréoletti O, Bujdoso R (2014), “Prion-induced and spontaneous formation of transmissible toxicity in PrP transgenic Drosophila.” Biochem J 463(1):31-40 Details

    Thackray AM, Zhang C, Arndt T, Bujdoso R (2014), “Cytosolic PrP can participate in prion-mediated toxicity.” J Virol Details

    Thackray AM, Muhammad F, Zhang C, Denyer M, Spiropoulos J, Crowther DC, Bujdoso R (2012), “Prion-induced toxicity in PrP transgenic Drosophila.” Exp Mol Pathol 92(2):194-201 Details

    Thackray AM, Muhammad F, Zhang C, Di Y, Jahn TR, Landgraf M, Crowther DC, Evers JF, Bujdoso R (2012), “Ovine PrP transgenic Drosophila show reduced locomotor activity and decreased survival.” Biochem J Details

    Thackray AM, Hopkins L, Lockey R, Spiropoulos J, Bujdoso R (2011), “Emergence of multiple prion strains from single isolates of ovine scrapie.” J Gen Virol 92(Pt 6):1482-91 Details

    Thackray AM, Hopkins L, Spiropoulos J, Bujdoso R (2008), “Molecular and transmission characteristics of primary-passaged ovine scrapie isolates in conventional and ovine PrP transgenic mice.” J Virol 82(22):11197-207 Details

    Thackray AM, Hopkins L, Bujdoso R (2007), “Proteinase K-sensitive disease-associated ovine prion protein revealed by conformation-dependent immunoassay.” Biochem J 401(2):475-83 Details



    Yang S, Thackray AM, Hopkins L, Monie TP, Burke DF, Bujdoso R (2014), “Polymorphisms at amino acid residues 141 and 154 influence conformational variation in ovine PrP.” Biomed Res Int 2014:372491 Details


    Bujdoso R, Thackray AM (2013), “The emergence of a Drosophila model to measure ovine prion infectivity” CAB Reviews: Perspectives in Agriculture, Veterinary Science, Nutrition and Natural Resources 8: 0058

    Li W, Bell NA, Hernández-Ainsa S, Thacker VV, Thackray AM, Bujdoso R, Keyser UF (2013), “Single protein molecule detection by glass nanopores.” ACS Nano 7(5):4129-34 Details


    Thackray AM, Hopkins L, Lockey R, Spiropoulos J, Bujdoso R (2012), “Propagation of ovine prions from "poor" transmitter scrapie isolates in ovine PrP transgenic mice.” Exp Mol Pathol 92(1):167-74 Details

    Thackray AM, Lockey R, Beck KE, Spiropoulos J, Bujdoso R (2012), “Evidence for Co-infection of Ovine Prion Strains in Classical Scrapie Isolates.” J Comp Pathol Details


    Zabel M, Greenwood C, Thackray AM, Pulford B, Rens W, Bujdoso R (2009), “Perturbation of T-cell development by insertional mutation of a PrP transgene.” Immunology 127(2):226-36 Details


    Fitzmaurice TJ, Burke DF, Hopkins L, Yang S, Yu S, Sy MS, Thackray AM, Bujdoso R (2008), “The stability and aggregation of ovine prion protein associated with classical and atypical scrapie correlates with the ease of unwinding of helix-2.” Biochem J 409(2):367-75 Details

    Yang S, Thackray AM, Fitzmaurice TJ, Bujdoso R (2008), “Copper-induced structural changes in the ovine prion protein are influenced by a polymorphism at codon 112.” Biochim Biophys Acta 1784(4):683-92 Details


    Thackray AM, Hopkins L, Klein MA, Bujdoso R (2007), “Mouse-adapted ovine scrapie prion strains are characterized by different conformers of PrPSc.” J Virol 81(22):12119-27 Details


    Thackray AM, Bujdoso R (2006), “Elevated PrPC expression predisposes to increased HSV-1 pathogenicity.” Antivir Chem Chemother 17(1):41-52 Details

    Thackray AM, Fitzmaurice TJ, Hopkins L, Bujdoso R (2006), “Ovine plasma prion protein levels show genotypic variation detected by C-terminal epitopes not exposed in cell-surface PrPC.” Biochem J 400(2):349-58 Details


    Bujdoso R, Burke DF, Thackray AM (2005), “Structural differences between allelic variants of the ovine prion protein revealed by molecular dynamics simulations.” Proteins 61(4):840-9 Details

    Thackray AM, Ryder SJ, Bujdoso R (2005), “Modification of blood cell PrP epitope exposure during prion disease.” Biochem J 390(Pt 2):563-71 Details


    Thackray AM, Bujdoso R (2004), “A role for pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines in the regulation of prion disease pathogenesis” Immunology 113: (S1) 98-137

    Thackray AM, McKenzie AN, Klein MA, Lauder A, Bujdoso R (2004), “Accelerated prion disease in the absence of interleukin-10.” J Virol 78(24):13697-707 Details

    Thackray AM, Yang S, Wong E, Fitzmaurice TJ, Morgan-Warren RJ, Bujdoso R (2004), “Conformational variation between allelic variants of cell-surface ovine prion protein.” Biochem J 381(Pt 1):221-9 Details

    Wong E, Thackray AM, Bujdoso R (2004), “Copper induces increased beta-sheet content in the scrapie-susceptible ovine prion protein PrPVRQ compared with the resistant allelic variant PrPARR.” Biochem J 380(Pt 1):273-82 Details


    Thackray AM, Klein MA, Bujdoso R (2003), “Subclinical prion disease induced by oral inoculation.” J Virol 77(14):7991-8 Details

    Thackray AM, Madec JY, Wong E, Morgan-Warren R, Brown DR, Baron T, Bujdoso R (2003), “Detection of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, ovine scrapie prion-related protein (PrPSc) and normal PrPc by monoclonal antibodies raised to copper-refolded prion protein.” Biochem J 370(Pt 1):81-90 Details

    Thackray AM, Wong E, Yang S, Morgan-Warren R, Bujdoso R (2003), “Conformational mapping of cell surface ovine prion protein” Immunology 110: (S1) 97

    Wong E, Thackray AM, Bujdoso R (2003), “Copper induction of beta-sheet conformation in the ovine prion protein” Immunology 110: (S1) 97


    Shaw MM, Gürr WK, Thackray AM, Watts PA, Littler E, Field HJ (2002), “Temporal pattern of herpes simplex virus type 1 infection and cell death in the mouse brain stem: influence of guanosine nucleoside analogues.” J Virol Methods 102(1-2):93-102 Details

    Thackray AM, Bujdoso R (2002), “PrP(c) expression influences the establishment of herpes simplex virus type 1 latency.” J Virol 76(5):2498-509 Details

    Thackray AM, Klein MA, Aguzzi A, Bujdoso R (2002), “Chronic subclinical prion disease induced by low-dose inoculum.” J Virol 76(5):2510-7 Details

    Thackray AM, Knight R, Haswell SJ, Bujdoso R, Brown DR (2002), “Metal imbalance and compromised antioxidant function are early changes in prion disease.” Biochem J 362(Pt 1):253-8 Details


    Smith JR, Thackray AM, Bujdoso R (2001), “Reduced herpes simplex virus type 1 latency in Flt-3 ligand-treated mice is associated with enhanced numbers of natural killer and dendritic cells.” Immunology 102(3):352-8 Details

    Wong E, Thackray AM, Bujdoso R (2001), “Cloning and expression of ovine doppel and PrPC” Journal of Neuroimmunology 118: (1) 110


    Field HJ, Thackray AM (2000), “Early therapy with valaciclovir or famciclovir reduces but does not abrogate herpes simplex virus neuronal latency.” Nucleosides Nucleotides Nucleic Acids 19(1-2):461-70 Details

    Field HJ, Thackray AM (2000), “Anatomical distribution of HSV-1 during antiviral chemotherapy” Antiviral Research 46: A73

    Thackray AM, Field HJ (2000), “The effects of antiviral therapy on the distribution of herpes simplex virus type 1 to ganglionic neurons and its consequences during, immediately following and several months after treatment.” J Gen Virol 81(Pt 10):2385-96 Details

    Thackray AM, Field HJ (2000), “Further evidence from a murine infection model that famciclovir interferes with the establishment of HSV-1 latent infections.” J Antimicrob Chemother 45(6):825-33 Details

    Thackray AM, Field HJ (2000), “Persistence of infectious herpes simplex virus type 2 in the nervous system in mice after antiviral chemotherapy.” Antimicrob Agents Chemother 44(1):97-102 Details

    Thackray AM, Field HJ (2000), “Effects of famciclovir and valacyclovir on herpes simplex virus type 1 infection, latency and reactivation in mice: How dissimilar are study results? ” Journal of Infectious Diseases 181(4): 1517-1518


    Thackray AM, Field NM, Field HJ (1999), “The cellular location of transient virus production in neural tissues on cessation of chemotherapy using valaciclovir” Antiviral Research 41: A58


    Field HJ, Efstathiou S, Thackray AM (1998), “HSV latency detected in neurons by means of the ?-gal reporter gene in ganglia from mice treated with famciclovir or valaciclovir” Antiviral Research 37: A43

    Thackray AM, Field HJ (1998), “Famciclovir and valaciclovir differ in the prevention of herpes simplex virus type 1 latency in mice: a quantitative study.” Antimicrob Agents Chemother 42(7):1555-62 Details


    Field HJ, Thackray AM (1997), “Can herpes simplex virus latency be prevented using conventional nucleoside analogue chemotherapy? ” Antiviral Chemistry & Chemotherapy 8 (1): 59-66

    Thackray AM, Field HJ (1997), “The influence of cyclosporin immunosuppression on the efficacy of famciclovir or valaciclovir chemotherapy studied in a murine herpes simplex virus type 1 infection model” Antiviral Chemistry & Chemotherapy 8(4): 317-326


    Field HJ, Thackray AM (1996), “Valaciclovir and famciclovir - differences between two similar guanosine analogue prodrugs emerge from laboratory models” International Antiviral News 4: 23-27

    Thackray AM, Field HJ (1996), “Differential effects of famciclovir and valaciclovir on the pathogenesis of herpes simplex virus in a murine infection model including reactivation from latency.” J Infect Dis 173(2):291-9 Details

    Thackray AM, Field HJ (1996), “Comparison of effects of famciclovir and valaciclovir on pathogenesis of herpes simplex virus type 2 in a murine infection model.” Antimicrob Agents Chemother 40(4):846-51 Details


    Field HJ, Tewari D, Sutton D, Thackray AM (1995), “Comparison of efficacies of famciclovir and valaciclovir against herpes simplex virus type 1 in a murine immunosuppression model.” Antimicrob Agents Chemother 39(5):1114-9 Details

    Field HJ, Thackray AM (1995), “The effects of delayed-onset chemotherapy using famciclovir or valaciclovir in a murine immunosuppression model for HSV-1” Antiviral Chemistry & Chemotherapy 6(4): 210-216


    Slater JD, Borchers K, Thackray AM, Field HJ (1994), “The trigeminal ganglion is a location for equine herpesvirus 1 latency and reactivation in the horse.” J Gen Virol 75 ( Pt 8):2007-16 Details


    Gilliam SE, Thackray AM, Brown GA, Field HJ (1993), “The pathogenesis of wild type and drug resistant mutant strains of bovine herpesvirus-1 (BHV-1) in the natural host.” Arch Virol 128(1-2):43-54 Details


    Gibson JS, O'Neill T, Thackray A, Hannant D, Field HJ (1992), “Serological responses of specific pathogen-free foals to equine herpesvirus-1: primary and secondary infection, and reactivation.” Vet Microbiol 32(3-4):199-214 Details