Fiona graduated in Bacteriology and Virology at Manchester University (1977) where she also completed her PhD on vaccinia virus DNA polymerase. After four years as a post-doc in virology at Cambridge Vet School and Department of Pathology, Fiona joined the Houghton Poultry Research Station (later the Institute for Animal Health) in 1984 to develop fowlpoxvirus as a replicating vaccine vector for important viral diseases of chickens including infectious bronchitis and Newcastle Disease.
At the end of the 1980's Fiona switched fields to work on protozoan parasites (Eimeria species) of poultry with a focus on understanding how these parasites recognise and invade target host cells. Alongside basic research, she has applied genomic, proteomic and transgenic approaches to Eimeria species and continues to have a strong interest in the development of new types of vaccines for poultry infectious diseases, working in collaboration with industry.
Fiona joined the RVC at the end of 2010 as Professor of Experimental Parasitology and is head of the Department of Pathology and Pathogen Biology; her research remains primarily focused on Eimeria species, with additional projects on poultry red mite, and her lab is funded by grants from BBSRC, the EU, the British Egg Marketing Board and industry.