Published: 07 Jan 2016 | Last Updated: 07 Jan 2016 14:42:21

Congratulations to Claire Guinat (PhD student registered at the RVC) who is the joint winner of the Pirbright young scientist of the year award, along with a student from Compton.

Claire was nominated for the award by Professor Linda Dixon from the Pirbright Institute.  

Claire is jointly supervised by Prof Dirk Pfeiffer, RVC, London and Professor Linda Dixon and started her PhD studies in February 2013 and plans to submit in March 2016.  She has a veterinary degree from Toulouse University France and completed an MSc in Epidemiology at CIRAD, Montpellier, France.

Throughout her PhD Claire’s performance has been exceptional in terms of her productivity (5 papers published in refereed journals to date, 2 as first author), her “can do” attitude and confidence in mastering any new approaches and tasks, ambassador for the University and Institute and external working groups and generous attitude to her colleagues.

Claire’s thesis has focussed on understanding transmission dynamics and routes for African swine fever virus. Her work has covered diverse areas ranging from animal and laboratory studies, mathematical modelling of virus spread, risk analysis and investigating farmer’s attitudes and awareness of ASF. She has learnt the very diverse methods involved in these studies in a characteristically proactive, focussed and confident way.

The work has to date resulted in 5 publications in peer reviewed journals  (see below). Two of these are first author, 2 are in the top ranked veterinary journal (Transboundary and Emerging Diseases) and 1 in the 3rd ranked veterinary journal (Veterinary Research). In addition to the ASFV group Claire has worked with Simon Gubbins and the Mathematical Biology Group. One review article and one paper are under review (Vet Record and Plos One).  This research output is exceptional.

Claire has excellent interpersonal and communication skills and her supervisors have been very pleased to have her represent them externally a number of times. For example Claire represented Professor Dixon on two European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) working groups which reviewed different aspects relating to risk of ASF introduction and spread in Europe. Both of these opinions have now been published in the EFSA Journal. Claire was also a representative at the FLI when she took part in an experiment on ASFV transmission between wild boar. She has also presented at a number of external meetings (eg SGM, EPIZONE, ISVEE, EU ASFORCE project) and was awarded a prize for best poster at EPIZONE in the first year of her PhD.

Claire has a generous attitude to colleagues and is very popular. For examples she brought back cheeses from her home in France and held a cheeses and bread party for animal staff at Pirbright who had helped with her work here and on another occasion for scientists. Typically Claire is equally adventurous out of work and regularly climbs and cycles. She plans a long cycle trip along part of the silk route following submission of her thesis. Without doubt Claire has a very bright future ahead of her in her research career and private life. Someone Pirbright can be proud of having been involved in training.


1. Survival of African Swine Fever Virus in Excretions from Pigs Experimentally Infected with the Georgia 2007/1 Isolate.
Davies K, Goatley LC, Guinat C, Netherton CL, Gubbins S, Dixon LK, Reis AL.
Transbound Emerg Dis. 2015 Jun 24. doi: 10.1111/tbed.12381. [Epub ahead of print]
PMID: 26104842 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

2. Experimental pig-to-pig transmission dynamics for African swine fever virus, Georgia 2007/1 strain.
Guinat C, Gubbins S, Vergne T, Gonzales JL, Dixon L, Pfeiffer DU.
Epidemiol Infect. 2015 May 20:1-10. [Epub ahead of print]
PMID: 25989921 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

3. Course and transmission characteristics of oral low-dose infection of domestic pigs and European wild boar with a Caucasian African swine fever virus isolate.
Pietschmann J, Guinat C, Beer M, Pronin V, Tauscher K, Petrov A, Keil G, Blome S.
Arch Virol. 2015 Jul;160(7):1657-67. doi: 10.1007/s00705-015-2430-2. Epub 2015 Apr 29.
PMID: 25916610 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

4. Dynamics of African swine fever virus shedding and excretion in domestic pigs infected by intramuscular inoculation and contact transmission.
Guinat C, Reis AL, Netherton CL, Goatley L, Pfeiffer DU, Dixon L.
Vet Res. 2014 Sep 26;45:93. doi: 10.1186/s13567-014-0093-8.
PMID: 25256695 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE] Free PMC Article

5. Attitudes and Beliefs of Pig Farmers and Wild Boar Hunters Towards Reporting of African Swine Fever in Bulgaria, Germany and the Western Part of the Russian Federation.
Vergne T, Guinat C, Petkova P, Gogin A, Kolbasov D, Blome S, Molia S, Pinto Ferreira J, Wieland B, Nathues H, Pfeiffer DU.
Transbound Emerg Dis. 2014 Aug 6. doi: 10.1111/tbed.12254. [Epub ahead of print]
PMID: 25100620 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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