Working together to solve the challenges of the pig industry

Bristol research addresses pig industry questions relating to infectious diseases, vaccination, microbiomes, antimicrobial use, behaviour and welfare. This applied scientific knowledge, coupled with the TBRC and surgical skills spanning anaesthesia, imaging and animal physiology enables the provision of a unique combination of facilities and skills to resolve sector challenges.  

Our farm animal veterinary practice (Langford Vets), has client farms (mostly small holders/small commercial pig units). Many of these local producers use Bristol’s on-site commercial/research abattoir and butchery, providing potential for supply chain research.


Research housing facilities suitable for non-infectious (600m2) and infectious (400m2) studies.

Standard accommodation suitable for farrowing, rearing and finishing with configurable pens allowing small or large group housing for up to 200 pigs.

Infectious disease containment facilities for up to 40 pigs comprising 8 separate rooms.

Bristol’s Translational Biomedical Research Centre (TBRC) provides state-of-the-art surgical facilities suitable for pigs with induction, surgery and recovery rooms, catheterisation lab with X-ray imaging and 3 Tesla MRI.

Pig Technical data sheet (PDF, 202kB)

My research is focused around development of the immune system in young piglets, and the influence of early-life events in determining the effectiveness of the immune system in growing animals. The mucosal immunology group at Langford has demonstrated that newborn piglets have relatively poorly developed immune systems and that their ability to respond appropriately to pathogens and to harmless food antigens is driven by acquisition of normal commensal bacteria in the intestine. Birth and weaning are critical time-points and management of husbandry at these time points can affect both immune and metabolic systems. However, although management, nutrition and pre/pro/synbiotics influence this development, predicting outcomes is still a significant challenge for the industry.

Professor Mick Bailey , Professor of Comparative Immunology
Edit this page