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Emerging Infectious Diseases – Surveillance and Biosecurity

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  • Full or part time
    Dr N Marks
    Dr P McVeigh
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Project details:

A continued increase in both the geographical range of existing pathogens and the transmission of novel pathogens into the human population poses a challenge for the effective control of emerging infectious diseases (EIDs) and biosecurity. Several factors exacerbate the establishment of EIDS, including: intensive farming practices; animal importation; climatic changes; relaxation of pet passport controls, and a lack of screening of putative wildlife vectors/reservoirs. Despite increasing numbers of EIDs, the Veterinary Laboratories Agency (VLA) reports that surveillance for non-notifiable or emergent diseases is haphazard. Key zoonotic diseases such as Lyme disease and Babesiosis pose a significant biosecurity threat and will be studied in this research project using bioimaging, epidemiological and molecular techniques.

This project will: (i) evaluate current/emerging pathogenic and zoonotic diseases; (ii) identify new biosecurity measures that could be employed to alleviate/prevent spread; (iii) identify areas of potential high risk; (iv) investigate drug resistance to bovine TBDs; (v) identify best practice for data dissemination to the general public, veterinary/human health and agricultural sectors to increase risk awareness. The student will combine field studies and disease screening using well-developed platforms to establish the prevalence of disease in both wildlife reservoirs and livestock/domestic animals, informing understanding of epidemiological risk factors.

This project will be supervised by Dr Nikki Marks and Dr Paul McVeigh of Queen’s University School of Biological Sciences and Dr James McKenna of the Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast.

All applications MUST be submitted through https://dap.qub.ac.uk/portal/user/u_login.php.

Specific skills/experience required by applicants:

Candidates should have a good knowledge base of EIDs and preferably experience in molecular biology techniques such as qPRC, ddPCR and multiplex systems.

All applicants must meet the academic entry requirements: https://www.qub.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate-research/biological-sciences-phd.html#entry

Funding Notes

Only UK and EU students are eligible to apply. Before applying, it is strongly recommended that you read the full information on eligibility criteria available from DfE: https://www.economy-ni.gov.uk/sites/default/files/publications/economy/post-graduate-studentships-terms-conditions-19-20.pdf.

Please note in particular that not all successful applicants may be eligible to receive a full studentship (i.e. fees and stipend) - please read in detail the Residency and Citizenship requirements in the document linked to above.

How good is research at Queen’s University Belfast in Public Health, Health Services and Primary Care?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 29.60

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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