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Spatio-temporal modelling of human leptospirosis infections in slums settlements in Salvador, Brazil

Lancaster Medical School

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Dr Emanuele Giorgi , Dr Frederico Costa , Prof R Pickup No more applications being accepted Competition Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)
Lancaster United Kingdom Applied Mathematics Bioinformatics Mathematics Statistics

About the Project

We seek a PhD candidate with strong skills in applied statistics who will work on the development of spatio-temporal statistical methods to model leptospirosis infections in Brazil. The project is part of a multidisciplinary project which will be carried out under the supervision of Dr Emanuele Giorgi (Lancaster University) and Prof Federico Costa (Federal University of Bahia/Osawldo Cruz Foundation).

Leptospirosis is a spirochetal zoonosis that has emerged as an important health problem in slum settlements that have expanded rapidly worldwide and created conditions for rat-borne transmission. In the city of Salvador, Brazil, where transmission mostly occurs in peridomestic environments, the government-led expansion of closed sewer networks has resulted in a significant decrease of infection rates for leptospirosis. However, due to political neglect and the uncontrolled expansions of slums, construction of conventional governmentally led closed sewer systems (GOV-INT) is increasingly problematic. To address this issue, innovative and more economical methods that require community residents involvement (COM-INT) have emerged as suitable alternatives to improve sanitation in slum settlements.

The main objective of the study will be to develop and apply spatio-temporal statistical methods to determine the mechanisms by which COM-INT and GOV-INT reduce direct human contact with sewage and environmental pathogen load in urban slums.

The successful candidate is expected to:

1. have a strong interest in the application of advanced modern statistical methods to address public health challenges;

2. be able to autonomously learn new statistical methods and how they are used in open-source statistical software;

3. be able to communicate and work in a multidisciplinary team.

Applications should be made directly to Dr Emanuele at and should include:

1.      CV (max 2 A4 sides), including details of two academic references

2.      A cover letter outlining your qualifications and interest in the studentship (max 2 A4 sides)

Funding Notes

The full-time studentships are tenable up to 3 years full-time (subject to satisfactory progress) and will cover the cost of tuition fees at Home rates. A stipend in line with the UK Research Council rates is payable.
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