Pathogen Flow in Ecosystems
This group studies factors driving pathogen evolution and flow between environments, transmission vectors/intermediate hosts, animals (wild/domesticated) and humans.
Our researchers are experts in knowledge-driven modelling. They integrate quantitative approaches to research, such as spatial and social network analysis, with qualitative research methods, to study endemic and emerging veterinary and zoonotic infections.
A key driver is the need to understand factors that influence pathogen flow between wildlife, domestic livestock, companion animals and humans, so that (re)-emergence of disease threats can be predicted and control strategies devised.
We lead and collaborate with national and international partners on research projects relating to, for instance:
- Highly pathogenic Avian Influenza (H5N1, H7N9)
- Schistosomiasis and the Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs)/Neglected Zoonotic Diseases (NZDs) - see also ISNTD Bites video
- African Swine Fever
- Rift Valley Fever
- Peste de Petits Ruminants
These studies build on strong field research and are ;often carried out in developing countries, where future global threats are likely to emerge. All senior researchers have experience of working in developing countries.
Antimicrobial resistance and antihelminthic resistance, or resistance to drugs, are increasing concerns among humans and animals and is another important topic for RVC researchers, demanding an integrated approach.
Topics of interest include:
- Use of RNA silencing as an alternative to antibiotics
- Optimisation of antimicrobial and antihelminthic dosing to minimise development of resistance
- Whole Genome Sequencing and Exome capture analyses to detect potential evidence of and mechanisms of emerging drug resistance
- Combined animal colonisation and epidemiological studies to develop mathematical models of the spread of zoonotic infectious agents between species
- Molecular ecology to determine the origins of zoonotic infectious agents, including the evolution of novel introgressions between pathogens of humans and animals, in areas where humans and animals co-exist