Infectious Diseases

Infectious Diseases

The Institute has considerable strengths in epidemiology, particularly in the areas of quantitative modelling, genetic analysis, surveillance, vaccinology, antimicrobial resistance, vector ecology and one-health approaches to disease management. Much of our focus is on endemic and 'neglected' diseases, pathogens of veterinary importance, zoonoses, and studying the biology of these pathogens in their natural context, particularly in developing countries.

We take a highly interdisciplinary approach to the study of infectious diseases, recognizing that epidemiology is very much the ecology of infectious diseases, and thereby benefiting greatly from overlap with strengths in spatial and quantitative ecology. Our modelling is developed in close proximity to data, and focused on estimation of parameters relevant to dynamics and control using innovative statistical methodologies. The advent of new sequencing technologies will revolutionize the way we study epidemiology, particularly regarding transmission, which is usually a very 'hidden' process.

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Additional research background

Our Institute has led in the application of some of the first whole genome deep sequencing approaches to the study of FMDV, rabies, and bovine tuberculosis. These data can be used to study for the first time the high-resolution transmission pathways of pathogens, and our Institute leads research in how different types of data (spatial, temporal, genetic etc) can be integrated together within formal statistical frameworks. Novel approaches to disease surveillance requires a good understanding of the underlying biology of pathogens as well as a rigorous statistical underpinning and we develop such approaches both in the UK and resource-poor settings in East Africa and S.E. Asia.

We have expertise in the development of novel statistical approaches to the selection of viral vaccines where strain matching is an important consideration (for example in Influenza and FMDV), in vaccine development (filariasis) and in the design of large-scale vaccine programs - particularly rabies. Vector ecology often comprises a critical gap in our understanding of the dynamics of vector-borne diseases and vectors we study include mosquitos, ticks, and tsetse flies. Our close relationship with veterinarians and medics both within the Institute and wider College provides an ideal platform for developing one-health approaches to the control of infectious disease and biodiversity management, most of our work in this area is based in sub-Saharan Africa in close collaboration with our partner Institutes, particularly in Tanzania.

We work closely with other research units within the College, particularly Institute of Infection, Immunity & Inflammation, the University of Glasgow-MRC-Centre for Virus Research, and the Polyomics facility, but we have very strong links outwith the University with the Pirbright Institute and the WHO Influenza Centre at NIMR (London).



Full listing of staff in this research theme

Simon Babayan

Dr Simon Babayan

Research Fellow (Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine)

Research interests: Wild immunology; host-parasite interactions; protective immunity; vaccine development against filariasis.

Francesco Baldini

Dr Francesco Baldini

Research Fellow (Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine)

Research interests: Ecological, evolutionary and genetic bases of life-history trade-offs in Anopheles mosquitoes and their impact on Plasmodium parasite interactions and disease transmission ability in order to sustain and implement vector control strategies to fight malaria

Roman Biek

Dr Roman Biek

Reader (Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine)

Research interests: Molecular ecology and evolution. Infectious disease dynamics in wild and domestic animal populations, with a focus on viral and bacterial pathogens.

Collette Britton

Dr Collette Britton

Reader (Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine)

Research interests: Parasitic nematodes, Haemonchus contortus, Caenorhabditis elegans, proteases, RNAi, microRNAs, vaccines. Analysis of genes and pathways essential for parasite development and survival within the host.

Paul Capewell

Dr Paul Capewell

Research Associate (Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine)

Research interests: My primary research interests lie in parasitic/host interactions and the complex co-evolution that occurs as a result. My main research focus to date has been the ongoing evolutionary arms race between parasitic trypanosomes and their hosts (both mammalian and insect).

Sarah Cleaveland

Professor Sarah Cleaveland

Professor of Comparative Epidemiology (Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine)

Research interests: Understanding the ecology of diseases affecting human, domestic animal and wildlife health in natural ecosystems and mitigating their impacts. Zoonoses, neglected tropical diseases, intervention science, ecosystem health research, One Health.

Anneli Cooper

Dr Anneli Cooper

Research Associate (Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine)

Research interests: Understanding the complex co-evolution that has taken place between African trypanosome parasites and their mammalian hosts. My current research focuses on using molecular genetics techniques to investigate genes involved in both parasite infectivity and host defence.

Eileen Devaney

Professor Eileen Devaney

Professor of Parasite Immunobiology (Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine)

Research interests: Nematode biology; understanding anthelmintic resistance in veterinary nematodes; role of microRNAs in the regulation of nematode gene expression; Hsp90 as a molecular target in parasites; filarial nematodes and immunomodulation.

Fiona Dowell

Dr Fiona Dowell

Senior Lecturer in Veterinary Pharmacology (Veterinary Science and Education)

Research interests: Pharmacological control of smooth muscle - using in vitro organ bath set-ups to look at isolated segments of smooth muscle and how they function in health and disease; Methods to evaluate stress indicators associated with environmental and housing conditions in companion animals.

Karen Fairlie-Clarke

Dr Karen Fairlie-Clarke

Research Associate (Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine)

Research interests: Within-host ecology of immune-responses to parasite infection. Specifically how co-infection influences immune- or resource-mediated interactions and disease outcome. Current research; selective forces that maintain genetic variation of MHC II in nematode resistant sheep.

Heather Ferguson

Professor Heather Ferguson

Professor (Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine)

Research interests: Combining laboratory, field and theoretical studies to identify the evolutionary and ecological factors that stabilize parasite life cycles; and applying this knowledge to highlight weak points in transmission that could be exploited by new and/or existing control strategies.

Victoria Gillan

Dr Victoria Gillan

Research Associate (Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine)

Research interests: My work is focussed on the biology of nematode and apicomplexan infections, specifically in neglected tropical disease. My interests are two-fold: the role of miRNA in the regulation of parasite gene expression and Hsp90 as a molecular target in parasites.

Jo Halliday

Dr Jo Halliday

Lecturer (Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine)

Research interests: I am interested in the epidemiology and surveillance of zoonotic pathogens. In my current position I am looking at the different social and ecological impacts of three diseases (brucellosis, leptospirosis and Q fever) across different ecological settings in northern Tanzania.

Katie Hampson

Dr Katie Hampson

Reader (Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine)

Research interests: I am interested in the ecology of infectious diseases, particularly rabies, with the aim understanding infection dynamics across spatial scales and the impacts of control efforts. I use a combination of detailed field investigations, vaccination interventions and modelling.

Daniel Haydon

Professor Daniel Haydon

Director of Institute/Professor of Population Ecology and Epidemiology (Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine)

Research interests: Mathematical modelling of ecological and epidemiological processes; infectious disease ecology; design of vaccination programs; within-host pathogen dynamics; viral population genomics; antimicrobial resistance; statistical ecology; animal movement and spatial ecology; lichens.

Nicholas Jonsson

Professor Nicholas Jonsson

Professor of Animal Production and Public Health (Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine)

Research interests: Livestock and wildlife management, especially: genetics of metabolism in ruminant species (livestock & wildlife); systems biology approaches to wildlife-livestock-pathogen-environment interactions; genetics of drug resistance in ticks; immunogenetics of host-parasite interactions

Dr Roz Laing

Research Associate (Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine)

Research interests: Molecular biology of veterinary parasites; population genetics and genomics of parasitic nematodes; genetic basis of parasite drug resistance; drug metabolism; approaches to the diagnosis and control of anthelmintic resistance.

Jan Lindstrom

Dr Jan Lindstrom

Senior Lecturer (Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine)

Research interests: Evolutionary ecology, particularly life-history evolution, resource allocation, sexual selection and community ecology, and the application of these frameworks in resistance evolution and evolutionary and comparative medicine in general.

Annette MacLeod

Dr Annette MacLeod

Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow (Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine)

Research interests: The interaction between parasites, African trypanosomes, and their hosts, bridging the gap between field based population studies, genomics, and lab-based molecular biology, with a long-term view to exploiting these interactions to combat disease.

Miss Colette Mair

Research Associate (Centre for Virus Research)

Louise Matthews

Professor Louise Matthews

Professor (Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine)

Research interests: Mathematical modelling of the epidemiology and control of livestock and zoonotic disease. The ecology of antimicrobial resistance. Game theory applied to farmer behaviour and evolution of host immunity. Mathematics and application of diversity measures across the life sciences.

Jason Matthiopoulos

Professor Jason Matthiopoulos

Professor of Spatial and Population Ecology (Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine)

Research interests: Population dynamics; Confronting models with data; Analysis of animal movement; Analysis of habitat preference; Modelling population distributions; Complex trophic interactions; Reserve design; Models of animal communication and experience

Dominic Mellor

Professor Dominic Mellor

Professor of Epidemiology and Veterinary Public Health (Veterinary Pathology, Public Health & Disease Investigation)

Research interests: Applied epidemiology of diseases of all animal species and of humans. Understanding species demographics, in particular the circumstances that bring people into contact with animals and/or their products in ways that alter their risk of zoonotic disease.

Monika Mihm Carmichael

Dr Monika Mihm Carmichael

Senior Lecturer- Farm Animal Reproduction (Farm Animal Clinical Sciences)

Tim Parkin

Dr Tim Parkin

Professor of Veterinary Epidemiology (Equine Clinical Sciences)

Research interests: The Epidemiology and Prevention of musculoskeletal injury in the sports horse.

Tony Page

Professor Tony Page

Professor of Molecular and Biochemical Parasitology (Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine)

Research interests: Nematode development and genetics: Applying Caenorhabditis elegans as a model system to study nematode parasites and develop novel antihelminthics. C. elegans as a model system to study extracellular matrix formation, redox balance in the ER, protein folding and ageing.

Richard Reeve

Dr Richard Reeve

Reader (Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine)

Research interests: Developing the connections between different fields that use measures of diversity, from the level of the transcript to the ecosystem; use of mathematical, computational and statistical tools on underexploited biological datasets, particularly those of pathogens and vaccines.

Dr Jean Rodgers

Research Fellow (Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine)

Research interests: Investigating the pathogenesis and chemotherapy of human African trypanosomiasis and animal trypanosomiasis with particular interest in parasite migration into the CNS, the development of neuroinflammation and blood-brain barrier dysfunction.

Brian Shiels

Professor Brian Shiels

Professor of Parasite Cell Biology (Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine)

Research interests: Identification and characterisation parasite proteins associated with parasite differentiation and modulation of host cell function, including potential vaccine antigens; Theileria

Daniel Streicker

Dr Daniel Streicker

Research Fellow (Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine)

Research interests: My work explores the ecology and evolution of emerging infectious diseases. Using rabies virus in bats, my group explores questions about when, where and how viruses jump between host species, with the aim to inform control efforts that limit zoonotic cross-species transmission.

Mafalda Viana

Dr Mafalda Viana

Research Fellow (Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine)

Research interests: Understanding the ecology of multi-host pathogens to identify the best disease control strategies. I use statistical modelling to investigate a combine multiple sources of information to reconstruct the dynamics of infectious diseases in human, livestock and wildlife populations.

Ruth Zadoks

Professor Ruth Zadoks

Professor in Molecular Epidemiology (Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine)

Research interests: Veterinary epidemiologist with interests in infectious and zoonotic diseases of livestock and fish; use of DNA-based methods to study microbial sub-populations and their associations with sources of infection, niche adaptation, transmission mechanisms and disease manifestation.