Hannah Tidbury

NERC CASE Ph.D. Student

Department of Animal & Plant Sciences
University of Sheffield

Office: Alfred Denny Building
Email: bop08hjt(at)
2008 - present: NERC Ph.D student, Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield, UK
Advisors: Prof Mike Boots, Dr Amy Pedersen

2007 - 2008:
Research Technician, Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield, UK

MBiolSci Zoology, Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield, UK

Research Interests
I am interested in the nature and specificity of antiviral resistance in insects.

Currently my research includes investigating the phenomenon of immune priming in insects. Until recently the immune response of insects was thought to lack any capacity for memory. However, growing evidence suggests that priming an insect’s immune response, through previous exposure to bacterial pathogens, confers lasting protection to bacteria both within an individual and in offspring.
Despite the fact that there are important evolutionary and epidemiological consequences of immune priming and that insect host- virus interactions are important since many important human viral diseases (e.g. dengue fever, West Nile Virus) are vectored by insects, immune priming in insects to viruses is not well studied.

Using the insect model system
Plodia interpunctella and its natural pathogen Plodia interpunctella granulosis virus (PiGV) I aim to experimentally test whether previous sublethal viral exposure confers long-term resistance and if so, how specific this resistance is.

My specific aims include:

(a) To test whether exposure to a low dose of a coevolved virus (LD
1), early in life provides immune protection against virus challenge (LD50) later in development.
(b) To determine whether antiviral resistance can be transferred to offspring, by exposing parents to a low sublethal dose of virus, and then testing the level of resistance in their offspring to viral challenge.
(c) Lastly, to explore whether previous viral exposure or immune priming confers a general antiviral resistance. To do this I will measure the protection provided from previous sublethal exposure to a coevolved virus, to later exposure to a novel virus.


Tidbury, H., Pedersen, A.B. V. & Boots M. 2011. Within and transgenerational immune priming in an insect to a DNA virus. Proceedings of the Royal Society London B 278: 871-876.