Part of the Pirbright Institute's Strategic Programme Grant
Productive research collaborations have existed between researchers at the University of Glasgow (UoG) and the Pirbright Institute (PI) for many years, particularly focussed around mathematical modelling of many aspects of foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV). However, research into FMDV will be increasingly constrained if we are unable to exploit recent powerful developments in statistical methodology. Effective development of powerful and relevant statistical methodology to FMDV problems requires three types of expertise: 1) a thorough technical understanding of modern statistical methodology; 2) a detailed understanding of how relevant data are generated, its appropriate interpretation, uses and limitations; 3) a wider understanding of the relevant research agendas and how they relate to policy development and application. This project aims to provide support in these areas for the growing range of collaborations between PI and UoG initially through the following project aims: 1) to develop new Bayesian statistical tools to improve models of the relationship between genetic and antigenic evolution of FMDV; 2) to apply modern statistical methods to the estimation of assay results from serial dilution assays used diagnostically in PI; and 3) to develop a framework to allow a better understanding of the relationship between serological assays and live animal challenge in order to match 3Rs (Reduce, Refine, Replace) policy initiatives for reductions in animal experimentation (led in the UK by the NC3Rs research council).