After 3 ½ years as assistant at the Laboratory of Animal Physiology, University of Antwerp and 3 ½ years as assistant at the Laboratory of Veterinary Virology, University of Ghent, Dr. Cox obtained his PhD on “Experimental induction of diarrhoea in newly-weaned piglets and effect of antisecretory drugs” at the University of Ghent in 1991. One year later he became assistant at the Laboratory of Immunology and in 1993 Assistant Professor. Since then he has performed research on the intestinal mucosal immune responses in pigs using infections with enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC) as a model system. This resulted in the discovery that pigs can be orally immunized with the purified fimbriae of F4+ ETEC. It was the start of numerous studies on oral immunizations in pigs. More recently sheep and cattle were introduced. Whereas the first studies used enterotoxigenic E. coli, later on also verotoxigenic E. coli, enterohemorraghic E. coli, Toxoplasma gondii, Chlamydia psittaci, C. trachomatis and C. suis infections were studied. Among others this lead to the identification of Blood Group ABH Type 1 determinants as receptor sugars of F18+ E. coli in pigs.
Dr. Cox is promoter of the UGent valorisation consortium PROVAXS. This consortium focuses on prophylaxis and vaccination. He is advisory scientific panel member of the Meetings Management conferences on Mucosal Vaccines, adjuvants & Delivery. In 2011 he organized the international conference ECMIS 2011 “E. coli and the mucosal immune system”.
He has been member of the editorial board of Veterinary Immunology and Immunopathology. He is associated–editor of Frontiers in Mucosal Immunity since 2010 and member of the advisory board of Veterinary Research since 2011.
Eric has co-authored over 200 scientific publications.