Department: Pathobiology and Population Sciences

Campus: Hawkshead

Research Centres: Veterinary Epidemiology, Economics and Public Health

Beth is a PhD student in the Veterinary Epidemiology Economics and Public Health group at the RVC.  Her PhD project is investigating the transmission dynamics of Peste des Petits Ruminants. The project will finish in September 2023.

Beth graduated from the University of Bristol with a BSc in Biology in 2017. She worked in science outreach and social mobility for two years before joining the Royal Veterinary College as a PhD student.

Beth is part of the London Interdisciplinary Doctoral Training Programme (LIDo) and her PhD is a joint studentship between the Royal Veterinary College and the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA), the industrial CASE partner.

This PhD project is focussed on optimising vaccination campaigns for Peste des Petits Ruminants (PPR), a viral disease of small ruminants which has been targeted by the OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health) and FAO (Food and Agriculture Organisation) for global eradication by 2030. Mathematical models of PPRV transmission in different endemic settings will be developed to inform the design of vaccine programmes which are tailored to local contexts, optimising the opportunity for eradication. 

Few studies of PPR have taken a modelling approach to investigate disease dynamics, and the effect of population heterogeneity is rarely incorporated. This project aims to address this knowledge gap by developing models which take account of the heterogeneity between flocks, at multiple scales, and examine its impact on the transmission and elimination of PPR in different small ruminant populations.

To achieve this the following questions will be addressed:

  • How does heterogeneity at the flock level impact the transmission of PPR in different endemic settings?
  • What, if any, are the implications of flock heterogeneity for the eradication of PPR, in particular with respect to the effectiveness of vaccination strategies?
  • Specifically:
    • How may heterogeneity in (i) flock dynamics (demographics) and (ii) flock mobility patterns impact PPR transmission and the effectiveness of vaccination


This PhD is supported by the RVC and APHA joint OIE Collaboration Centre for Risk Analysis and Modelling and is part of an interdisciplinary collaboration between the Royal Veterinary College (RVC), and the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA), principally funded by the London Interdisciplinary Doctoral Training Programme (LIDo-DTP).

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