Ecology & evolution of emerging virus infections

The overarching goal of the programme is to improve understanding of the biology and epidemiology of emerging zoonotic infections in natural reservoirs and identify ecological drivers of viral emergence between species.

Viral pathogens are disproportionately represented among human and animal emerging diseases and cause a high proportion of transboundary animal diseases. The latter represent a major constraint to the development of livestock-based economies and contribute significantly to rural poverty, particularly in low- and middle-income countries.

In addition, viruses predominate as the cause of infectious diseases that threaten endangered wildlife species. Emerging diseases are increasing as a result of a combination of factors including a dramatic increase in travelling and commercial exchange, climate and ecosystem change and increased livestock production. In addition, changes in trading and commercial policies have created optimal conditions for movement of infected hosts over wide geographical areas.

At the CVR, we are building a multidisciplinary research programme that integrates molecular and evolutionary biology, in vivo and field studies, epidemiology, and mathematical modeling. This enables us to investigate the micro-evolutionary dynamics of viruses and how this information can be used to understand aspects of disease transmission and control. Current active research topics include bluetongue virus (BTV); Schmallenberg virus (SBV); avian, bat and equine influenza;  rabies and animal morbilliviruses (PPRV and CDV).

Programme members

Margaret Hosie

Professor of Comparative Virology


Headshot of Pablo Murcia

Pablo Murcia



Daniel Streicker

Research Fellow


Emma Thomson

Clinical Senior Lecturer


Brian Willett

Professor of Viral Immunology