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  Modelling the impact of extreme events on the emergence of infectious disease variants

   College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine

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  Prof R Kao, Dr S Lycett, Prof Richard Blythe  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

The emergence of new infectious disease problems has already been linked to the global climate crisis, including via the effects of changes in livestock management patterns, due to biodiversity loss and in conditions of extreme weather event. As the combination of climate change and land use change will only get more intense, emerging infectious disease risks will likely become increasingly unpredictable. This context means that the co-evolution of pathogens and systems, under conditions where both are changing at similar speeds, will require new paradigms to facilitate understanding and action. 

In this project, the student will develop analytical and simulation models to investigate the impact of long term changes, extreme events and sudden shifts in conditions for pathogen spread and therefore variant emergence.

The student would be expected to have good mathematical and programming skills, commensurate with having completed an undergraduate degree in a strongly quantitative subject area (e.g. physics, mathematics, statistics, engineering or computer science). Students who can demonstrate strong quantitative skills but outside these areas are also encouraged to apply.

While the project is largely theoretical, inspiration for project approaches will likely arise from understanding of the rise of variants of pathogens such as COVID-19, avian influenza in wild birds, seasonal influenza in humans, and PRRSv in pigs. 

Computer Science (8) Mathematics (25)

Funding Notes

This 3.5 year studentship opportunity is open to UK and international students and provides funding to cover stipend, tuition fees and consumable/travel costs.
Application form can be downloaded via
Please send your completed Application Form to [Email Address Removed]
If you are applying for more than one studentship please submit a separate application with a closing date of noon on 8th January 2024 at


Purse et al. 2005;
Makau et al, 2022;

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