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School of Environment and Life Sciences

Professor Joseph Jackson

Chair in Parasitology


I completed my Ph. D. in Parasitology at Queen Mary and Westfield College, University of London. I then did postdoctoral work at the University of Bristol for a number of years before moving to the University of Nottingham. At around the time of the move from Bristol to Nottingham I had started to become interested in the ecological context of vertebrate immune responses. This interest developed further during my time at Nottingham, fostered by interactions with colleagues and, in turn, led on to a move to the University of Liverpool as part of a collaborative project working on parasites in the Kielder field voles system.

After the end of this project I took up a post at Aberystwyth University where I established an independent research group looking, from an ecological perspective, at infection and immunity in a range of wild and domesticated vertebrate systems (including staying involved in collaborative work on the Kielder voles). In December 2015 I took up my post at the University of Salford, where my aim is to keep developing research that better defines the immune system as “real-world” trait.


I have worked with a wide range of different host-parasite systems over many years, in the field and the laboratory, using techniques spanning classical taxonomy to the latest genomic approaches. I will bring this experience to teaching Parasitology-related subjects at undergraduate and postgraduate level.

Research Interests

My work focusses on the interaction between the environment, the immune system and disease - and how this determines fitness in wild animals and health and productivity in domesticated animals. My broad aim is to understand the evolutionary adaptiveness of immune responses in natural settings; but also to understand maladaptation of the immune system in anthropogenic settings, where exposures to symbionts (commensal micro-organisms and parasites) and environmental variation may be very different to in the wild (the context in which the immune system is adapted to function by evolution).

I work on a range of vertebrate host systems, including mammals, fishes and amphibians and in recent years my laboratory has been funded by NERC, The Leverhulme Trust, The Fisheries Society of the British Isles and the Welsh Government (National Research Network for Low Carbon Energy and Environment, NRN-LCEE).

Qualifications and Memberships

B.Sc. (1st class Hons) Marine Biology, Swansea University

Ph. D. Parasitology, University of London 

PGCTHE, Aberystwyth University

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy


Stewart, A., Hablutzel, P.I., Brown, M., Watson, H.V., Parker-Norman, S., Tober, A.V., Thomason, A.G., Friberg, I.M., Cable, J. and Jackson, J.A. 2017 Half the story: thermal effects on within-host infectious disease progression in a warming climate. Global Change Biology. (In Press)

Thomason, A.G., Begon, M., Bradley, J.E., Paterson, S. and Jackson, J.A. 2017 An endemic hantavirus in field voles in northern England. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 23 (6).

Hablutzel, P.I., Brown, M., Friberg, I.M. and Jackson, J.A. 2016 Changing expression of vertebrate immunity genes in an anthropogenic environment: a controlled experiment. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 16 (175).

Brown, M., Hablutzel, P., Friberg, I.M., Thomason, A.G., Stewart, A., Pachebat, J.A. and Jackson, J.A. 2016, Seasonal immunoregulation in a naturally occurring vertebrate. BMC Genomics, 17 (369).

Jackson, J.A. 2015 Immunology in wild non-model rodents: an ecological context for studies of health and disease. Parasite Immunology 37, 220-232.

Jackson, J.A., Hall, A.J., Friberg, I.M., Ralli, C., Lowe. A., Zawadzka, M., Turner, A.K., Stewart, A., Birtles, R.J., Paterson, S., Bradley, J.E., Begon, M. 2014 An immunological marker of tolerance to infection in wild rodents. PLoS Biology 12:e1001901.

Friberg, I.M., Little, S., Ralli, C., Lowe, A., Hall, A., Jackson, J.A, Bradley, J.E. 2013 Macroparasites at peripheral sites of infection are major and dynamic modifiers of systemic anti-microbial pattern recognition responses. Molecular Ecology 22: 2810-2826.

Jackson, J.A., Begon, M., Birtles, R., et al. 2011 The analysis of immunological profiles in wild animals: a case study on immunodynamics in the field vole, Microtus agrestis. Molecular Ecology 20, 893-909.

Friberg, I.M., Bradley, J.E., Jackson, J.A. 2010 Macroparasites, innate immunity and immunoregulation: developing natural models. Trends in Parasitology, 26: 540-549.

Jackson, J.A, Friberg, I.M., Bolch, L., Lowe, A., Ralli, C., Harris, P.D., Behnke, J.M. Bradley J.E. 2009. Immunomodulatory parasites drive innate immune activation levels in wild mammals. BMC Biology, 7:16doi:10.1186/1741-7007-7-16.

Jackson, J.A., Friberg, I.M., Little, S. & Bradley J.E. 2009 Immunity against helminths and immunological phenomena in modern human populations: coevolutionary legacies? Immunology 126, 18-27.

Bradley, J.E. & Jackson, J.A. 2008 Measuring immune system variation to help understand host-pathogen community dynamics. Parasitology 135, S807-S823.

Jackson, J.A., Turner, J.D., Kamal, M., Wright, V., Bickle, Q., Else, K.J., Ramsan, M., Bradley, J.E. 2006. Gastrointestinal nematode infection is associated with variation in innate immune responsiveness. Microbes and Infection 8, 487-492.

Jackson, J.A., Pleass, R.J., Cable, J., Bradley, J.E., Tinsley, R.C. 2006. Heterogenous interspecific interactions in a host-parasite system. International Journal for Parasitology, 36, 1341-1349.

Jackson, J.A. & Tinsley, R.C. 2005. Geographic and within-population structure of variable resistance to parasite species and strains in a vertebrate host. International Journal for Parasitology 35, 29-37.

Jackson, J.A., Turner, J.D., Rentoul, L., Faulkner, F., Behnke, J.M. Hoyle, M., Grencis, R.K., Else, K.J. Kamgno, J., Boussinesq, M. & Bradley, J.E. 2004. T-helper cell type 2 responsiveness predicts future susceptibility to gastrointestinal nematodes in humans. Journal of Infectious Diseases 190, 1804-1811.

Bradley, J.E. & Jackson, J.A. 2004 Immunity, immunoregulation and the ecology of trichuriasis and ascariasis. Parasite Immunology 26, 429-441.

Jackson, J.A. & Tinsley, R.C. 2003 Parasite infectivity to hybridising host species: a link between hybrid resistance and allopolyploid speciation? International Journal for Parasitology 33, 137-44

Jackson, J.A. & Tinsley, R.C. 2001 Protopolystoma xenopodis (Monogenea) primary and secondary infections in Xenopus laevis. Parasitology 123, 455-463.