Published: 03 Oct 2019 | Last Updated: 03 Oct 2019 19:57:44

Dr Martin Walker has been awarded a BBSRC LIDo PhD studentship to research "Modelling the transmission and disease dynamics of toxoplasmosis".

Toxoplasmosis is a disease caused by the parasite Toxoplasma gondii, which can infect humans and most warm-blooded animals. The parasite infects approximately one third of the world’s human population and is found on every continent. Infection in pregnancy can lead to abortion and debilitating disease in newborn children and animals. Toxoplasma is spread in the faeces of infected cats and by eating undercooked/raw meat from infected animals such as livestock.

This project will use a variety of mathematical, serological and molecular tools to improve understanding of the transmission and disease dynamics of toxoplasmosis. This will ultimately help to inform the design of intervention strategies that can limit the public health impact of this disease. Particular objectives include: (1) the development and application of mathematical models to identify predominant routes of transmission in different epidemiological settings; (2) an assessment of the relative pathogenicity and transmissibility of different T. gondii strains, particularly atypical strains circulating in South America, and (3) an evaluation of the effectiveness of different intervention options implemented in heterogenous transmission and disease contexts.

Parasite lifecycle
Parasite lifecycle. Photo credit: Greg Milne

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