Dr Darryn Knobel

Contact details:

Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health & Comparative Medicine
College of Medicine, Veterinary & Life Sciences
Graham Kerr Building
University of Glasgow
Glasgow G12 8QQ
United Kingdom

Academic History

  • Current: Named post-doctoral research assistant on Wellcome Trust grant 'An integrated epidemiological study of zoonotic pathogens in linked human and animal populations in rural Kenya' (PI: Dr Sarah Cleaveland, Division of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Glasgow)
  • 2003-2008: PhD (Veterinary Epidemiology) University of Edinburgh
  • 2003-2006: Named post-doctoral research assistant on Wellcome Trust grant ‘Optimising the design of rabies vaccination strategies in developing countries’ (PI: Dr Sarah Cleaveland, Centre for Tropical Veterinary Medicine, University of Edinburgh)
  • 2000-2001: MSc (Zoology) University of Pretoria
  • 1993-1999: BVSc (Veterinary Science) University of Pretoria

Research Interests

My research interests focus on the transmission of pathogens across the interface between human, domestic animal and wildlife populations, and on the impact of these pathogens on human health and development, animal productivity and welfare, and environmental conservation in Africa. Broadly, I am interested in the epidemiology of zoonotic diseases (both neglected, endemic zoonoses and emerging infections) in human and animal populations sharing the same environment. Specific interests include the epidemiology and control of rabies in sub-Saharan Africa; the contribution of zoonoses such as Brucella and Coxiella burnetii (the causative agent of Q Fever) to the burden of febrile illness in humans in rural Africa, and the effect of these same pathogens on the reproductive success of domestic livestock; the role of domestic animals in the maintenance and transmission of enteric pathogens such as Campylobacter, E. coli and rotavirus to children in rural Kenya, and the risk factors for such transmission; and the incidence, aetiology and ecology of tick-borne rickettsial diseases in Kenya. These questions are addressed through a combination of large-scale observational field studies (cross-sectional, longitudinal and case-control) and molecular epidemiology in linked human and animal populations.

In addition, I offer external assistance to organisations such as the World Society for the Protection of Animals and the European Union who are involved in the planning and implementation of rabies control and humane dog population management programmes. My work in this field has included the estimation of owned and stray dog population numbers in rural and urban environments in Africa and Asia, and the estimation of vaccination coverage levels achieved among dog populations after rabies vaccination campaigns.

Current Research Projects

An integrated epidemiological study of zoonotic pathogens in linked human and animal populations in rural Kenya
Principal Investigator: Dr Sarah Cleaveland
Collaborators:  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI)
Funded by the Wellcome Trust (2007 - 2010)

Grants & Awards

  • 2008: University of Edinburgh Ker Memorial Prize for outstanding research in infectious diseases by a PhD candidate
  • 2005: University of Edinburgh Small Project Grant
  • 2003: World Health Organization grant 'Re-evaluating the burden of rabies in Africa and Asia'
  • 2003: Sir Ernest Cassel Memorial Trust Grant
  • 2003: Wingate Scholarship
  • 2001: Terry Amundson Award for best student presentation at the International Wildlife Disease Association conference
  • 2000: South African National Research Foundation Grant

Selected Publications

Breed, A.C., Plowright, R.K., Hayman, D.T.S., Knobel, D.L., Molenaar, F.M., Gardner-Roberts, D., Cleaveland, S., Haydon, D.T., Kock, R.A., Sainsbury, A.W. & Delahay, R.J. 2009. Disease management in endangered mammals. In: "Management of Disease in Wild Mammals", R.J. Delahay, G.C. Smith & M.R. Hutchings (eds), Springer, pp. 215-239.

Knobel, D.L., Laurenson, M.K., Kazwala, R.R., Boden, L.A. & Cleaveland, S. 2008. A cross-sectional study of factors associated with dog ownership in Tanzania. BMC Veterinary Research 4:5. doi:10.1186/1746-6148-4-5

Knobel, D.L., Fooks, A.R., Brookes, S.M., Randall, D.A., Williams, S.D., Argaw, K., Shiferaw, F., Tallents, L.A. & Laurenson, M.K. 2008. Trapping and vaccination of endangered Ethiopian wolves to control an outbreak of rabies. Journal of Applied Ecology 45: 109-116. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2664.2007.01387.x

Knobel, D.L., Kaare, M., Fèvre, E.M. & Cleaveland, S. 2007. Dog rabies and its control. In: 'Rabies' 2ed, A.C. Jackson & W.H. Wunner (eds), Academic Press, pp. 573-594.

Halliday, J.E.B., Meredith, A.L., Knobel, D.L., Shaw, D.J., Bronsvoort, B.M. de C. & Cleaveland, S. 2007. A framework for evaluating animals as sentinels for infectious disease surveillance. Journal of the Royal Society Interface Published online May 15 2007 doi:10.1098/rsif.2007.0237 

Haydon, D.T., Randall, D.A., Matthews, L., Knobel, D.L., Tallents, L.A., Gravenor, M.B., Williams, S.D., Pollinger, J.P., Cleaveland, S., Woolhouse, M.E.J., Sillero-Zubiri, C., Marino, J. & Laurenson, M.K. 2006. Low-coverage vaccination strategies for the conservation of endangered species. Nature 443: 692-695 doi:10.1038/nature05177

Knobel, D.L., Cleaveland, S., Coleman, P.G., Fèvre, E.M., Meltzer, M.I., Miranda, M.E.G., Shaw, A., Zinsstag, J. & Meslin, F.-X. 2005. Re-evaluating the burden of rabies in Africa and Asia. Bulletin of the World Health Organization 83: 360-368. http://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/83/5/knobel0505abstract/en/index.html

Knobel, D.L. & du Toit, J.T. 2003. The influence of pack social structure on oral rabies vaccination coverage in captive African wild dogs. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 80: 61-70.

Knobel, D.L., Liebenberg, A. & du Toit, J.T. 2003. Seroconversion in captive African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus) following administration of a chicken head bait/SAG-2 oral rabies vaccine combination. Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research. 70: 73-77.
Knobel, D.L., du Toit, J.T. & Bingham, J. 2002. Development of a bait and baiting system for delivery of oral rabies vaccine to free-ranging African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus). Journal of Wildlife Diseases 38: 352-362.