Researcher Profile

Brian Dixon

Job Title: Assistant Professor
Employer: University of Windsor, Biological Sciences
Place of Birth: Whitehave, Cumbria, England
Public School attended: Myrtle Street Public School, St. Thomas, Ontario; Homewood Junior High School, St. Thomas, Ontario
High School attended: Central Elgin Collegiate Institute, St. Thomas, Ontario
Further Education: Wilfrid Laurier University (B.Sc. - 1985), University of Guelph (M.Sc. - 1989), Dalhousie University (Ph.D. - 1993), Wageningen Agricultural University, The Netherland (Post Doc. Fellow - 1994-1995), Stanford University School of Medicine, California, USA (Post Doc. Fellow - 1996-1998)
Geographic focus of research: Lake Erie, Southwestern Ontario, Lake Tana, Ethiopia

Brief synopsis of current research:
My lab examines all aspects of the immune systems of cold-blooded vertebrates, particularly aquatic ones. We identify and clone novel genes that play a role in immune function. In addition, we use immune system gene polymorphism to study population structures of fish, determining if different breeding populations are truly distinct from others. We also examine the effects of toxic chemicals on the immune systems of cold-blooded vertebrates, both in the laboratory and the field.

Mailing address:
Department of Biological Sciences and GLIER, Unversity of Windsor, 401 Sunset Ave, Windsor, ON, Canada, N9B 3P4
Phone: (519)253-3000 x2730 (office), x3721 (lab); Fax: (519)971-3609


Recent Publications:

Dixon, B., B.P.S. Shum, E.J. Adams, K.E. Magor, R.P. Hedrick, D.G. Muir and P. Parham. 1998 CK-1, a putative chemokine of rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). Immunological Reviews. 166: 345-352.

Rodrigues, P.N.S., B. Dixon, J. Roelofs, J.H.W.M. Rombout, E. Egberts, B. Pohajdak and R.J.M. Stet. 1998. Expression and temperature dependent regulation of the beta-2-microglobulin (Cyca-B2m) gene in a cold-blooded vertebrate, the common carp (Cyprinus carpio L.). Developmental Immunology. 5: 263-275.

Dixon, B., L.A.J. Nagelkerke, E. Egberts and R.J.M. Stet. 1996. Evolution of cyprinid major histocompatibility complex class II beta genes as reflected in the large barbels (Barbus Intermedius complex) of Lake Tana. Immunogenetics 44: 419-431.

Dixon, B., S. H.M. van Erp, P.N.S. Rodrigues, E. Egberts and R.J.M. Stet. 1995. Fish Major Histocompatibility Complex Genes: An Expansion. Developmental and Comparative Immunology 19: 109-133.

Dixon, B., R.J.M. Stet, S.H.M. van Erp and B. Pohajdak. 1993. Characterisation of beta-2-microglobulin transcripts from two teleost species. Immunogenetics. 38: 27-34.

Now is a terrific time to get into aquatic sciences, particularly studying problems using molecular biology! The techniques are all worked out and there are thousands of questions out there to be answered, but not too many researchers answering them. Fish immunology is going to be a very important field in the next 20 years because aquaculture is going to be the principal source of fish for food and fish health issues will be important. Immunotoxicology will also emerge as a powerful tool for assessing sub-lethal exposures to toxins, and aquatic animals will be sentinel species used for assessing how clean our water supply is. Students should get into the field now, before everyone else does!