The increasing geographical range of existing pathogens and the transmission of novel pathogens into the human population pose a critical challenge for the effective control of emerging infectious diseases (EIDs) and biosecurity. Several factors are implicated in the establishment of EIDs: increased intensive farming practices; increased animal importation; climatic changes; the relaxation of pet passport controls; and, a lack of screening of putative wildlife vectors/reservoirs. Despite increasing EIDs, the Veterinary Laboratories Agency (VLA) reports that surveillance for non-notifiable or emergent diseases is, at best, haphazard. There are key gaps in our understanding of the animal determinants for emergence and the ability to contain such pathogens, both major obstacles to preventing and/or controlling new disease outbreaks/impacts. Lyme disease and Babesiosis, both zoonotic, pose a significant biosecurity threat and are the focus here. Aims: (i) evaluate current/emerging pathogenic and zoonotic diseases; (ii) identify new biosecurity measures to alleviate/prevent spread; (iii) identify areas of high risk; (iv) identify best practice for data dissemination to increase risk awareness. Research will combine field studies and disease screening using the latest platforms to establish disease prevalence in wildlife reservoirs and livestock/domestic animals, leading to the production of disease maps and advancing epidemiological risk factor models.
Specific skills/experience required by applicants:
Candidate should have some knowledge of EIDs and preferably experience in molecular biology techniques.
Only UK and EU students are eligible to apply. Information on eligibility criteria is available from DfE: View Website