Shinto Kunjamma John
Veterinary Microbiology Technician
2005-present: Veterinary Microbiology Technician, Institute of Zoology, UK.
1998-2005: Laboratory Technician, Fahad bin Sultan Falcon Center, Saudi Arabia.
1995-1998: Laboratory Technician, Cardio-Thoracic Science Center Blood Bank, India.
1994-1995: Laboratory Technician, Holy Family Hospital, India.
My work comprises the collection, isolation and identification of microorganisms, anti-biograms, from both the clinical and post-mortem examination specimens from various Wildlife Epidemiology Theme (WLE) projects and assisting in post-mortem examinations of wildlife. I maintain isolation and identification techniques for the Garden Wildlife Health (GWH) project, including isolating and identifying Trichomonas sp. I conduct isolation and identification techniques for the Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme (CSIP) , which monitors disease in cetaceans, pinipeds, basking sharks & turtles around the British Isles.
The microbiology laboratory also screens captive exotic animals in quarantine and from within the collections at London Zoo and Whipsnade Zoo. All reintroduction projects authorised by Natural England include a detailed veterinary management protocol. This consists of screening, clinical & post-mortem examination of endangered indigenous British species including red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris), corncrake (Crex crex), red kite (Milvus milvus) common dormouse (Muscardinus avellanarius), field cricket (Gryllus campstris), red-barbed ants (Formica rufibarbis) and cirl bunting (Emberiza cirlus).
The laboratory provides technical support for molecular diagnostic studies of various amphibian species, looking for the chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) and Ranavirus using Real-time PCR.
Finally, I manage several wildlife pathology archives (including frozen and formalin tissues and parasite samples) in posterity.
My research interests include isolating and identifying pathogenic microorganisms from wild animal population and comparative studies of micro-flora in wild-caught and captive-bred animals.
Our screening methods have led to advances in the practice of ‘parasite conservation’, where captive-bred animals destined for release are managed so that their natural complement of bacteria, viruses, worms and fungi are as similar to their wild cousins as possible. This reduces the risk of them encountering novel pathogens after release. It also reduces the need for medication during captivity which has been linked to resistance in parasites. These advances have led to improved veterinary protocols in breeding projects across the UK.
I am also interested in raptors and have studied haematozoa of falcons, normal and abnormal haematology of raptors and the haemo-response to therapeutics and disease in birds of prey.
Publications, Theses and Reports:
J.H. Samour, J.L. Naldo and S.K. John (2001) Staining characteristics of the eosinophil in the Saker falcon (Falco cherrug). Exotic DVM Veterinary Magazine, Volume 3.4, August/ September 2001.
J.H. Samour, S.K. John and J.L. Naldo (2005) Endoparasites in Falcons in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Exotic DVM Veterinary Magazine, Volume 6.6, February/ March 2005.
Samour, J.H., Naldo, J.L. and John, S.K. (2005) Normal haematological values in captive Gyr falcons (Falco rusticolus). Veterinary Record 157: 844-846.
Samour, J.H., Naldo, J.L. and John, S.K. (2005) Therapeutic management of Babesia shortii infection in a peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus). Journal of Avian Medicine and Surgery 19: 294-296.
J.H. Samour, J.L. Naldo and S.K. John (2006) Normal haematological values in captive Gyr falcons (Falco rusticolus). Falco Issue no: 28, August 2006;22.
Robert A. Robinson, Becki Lawson, Mike P. Toms, Kirsi M. Peck, James K. Kirkwood, Julian Chantrey, Innes R. Clatworthy, Andy D. Evans, Laura A. Hughes, Oliver C. Hutchinson, Shinto K. John, Tom W. Pennycott, Matthew W. Perkins, Peter S. Rowley, Vic R. Simpson, Kevin M. Tyler, Andrew A. Cunningham (2010) Emerging Infectious Disease Leads to Rapid Population Declines of Common British Birds. PLoS ONE 5(8): e12215 doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0012215
Lawson, B., Malnick, H.M., Pennycott, T.W., Macgregor, S.K., John, S.K., Duncan, G., Hughes, L.A., Chantrey, J. and Cunningham, A.A. (2010) Acute necrotising pneumonitis associated with Suttonella ornithocola infection in tits (Paridae). Veterinary Journal 188: 96-100. DOI: 10.1016/j.tvjl.2010.03.010
Becki Lawson, Robert A. Robinson, Aleksija Neimanis, Kjell Handeland, Marja Isomursu, Erik O. Agren, Inger S. Hamnes, Kevin M. Tyler, Julian Chantrey, Laura A. Hughes, Tom W. Pennycott, Vic R. Simpson, Shinto K. John, Kirsi M. Peck, Mike P. Toms, Malcolm Bennett, James K. Kirkwood, and Andrew A. Cunningham (2011) Evidence of Spread of the Emerging Infectious Disease, Finch Trichomonosis, by Migrating birds. EcoHealth 8:143-153. DOI: 10.1007/s10393-011-0696-8
Becki Lawson, Andrew A. Cunningham, Julian Chantrey, Laura A. Hughes, Shinto K. John, Nancy Bunbury, Diana J. Bell, and Kevin M. Tyler (2011) A clonal strain of Trichomonas gallinae is the aetiologic agent of an emerging avian epidemic disease. Infection, Genetics and Evolution 11(7): 1638-1645. DOI:10.1016/j.meegid.2011.06.007
Becki Lawson, Laura A. Hughes, Tansy Peters, Elizabeth de Pinna, Shinto K. John, Shaheed K. Macgregor and Andrew A. Cunningham (2011) Pulsed-Field Gel Electrophoresis Supports the Presence of Host-Adapted Salmonella enterica subsp. enterica Serovar Typhimurium Strains in the British Garden Bird Population. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 77(22): 8139-8144. DOI:10.1128/AEM.00131-11
Katie M. Colvile, B. Lawson, A. M. Pocknell, S. K. John, M. P. Dagleish and A. A. Cunningham (2012) Chlamydiosis in British songbirds. Veterinary Record 171(7): 177. DOI:10.1136/vr.100506
Jean F Chi, Becki Lawson, Chris Durrant, Katie Beckmann, Shinto John, Abdulwahed F Alrefaei, Kim Kirkbride, Diana J Bell, Andrew A Cunningham, Kevin M Tyler (2013) The finch epidemic strain of Trichomonas gallinae is predominant in British non-passerines. Parasitology; 0, 1-12. © Cambridge University Press 2013, DOI:10.1017/S0031182013000930.
T: 020 7449 6684
F: 020 7483 2237
Institute of Zoology
Zoological Society of London
London, United Kingdom