PhD Studentship Opportunity in Modelling The Impact of Environment on Salmonella and Leptospirosis

Applicants are invited to apply for a PhD scholarship in veterinary medicine at University of Surrey. The funds for this fellowship are available for three years. Applications will be evaluated on a continuous basis.

The impact of environment on infectious diseases is well-known. It can affect pathogen abundance, survival, and virulence, host susceptibility to infection as well as human behaviour.

Aim: to develop a general tool to assess the risk of infectious diseases (in particular zoonosis) when we have information of relevant environmental factors. Accordingly, we are interested in the following over-arching questions: As proof of concept, we will use Salmonella, for which we have plenty of data from Public Health England (PHE). This case study will be used to validate our approach (e.g. Leptospirosis).

A huge advantage is the high spatio-temporal resolution of data available through the MEDMI platform, a resource linking the data from PHE with data from the MetOffice (see Land use and socio-economic data are being collected as part of on-going projects (e.g. from APHA for livestock data, Centre for Ecology and Hydrology and/or VITO satellite images for land use data). Appending animal health data to these resources is an important step that should enable further exploitation for animal disease. The student will work under the supervision of Dr Gianni Lo Iacono and Prof Alasdair Cook and in collaboration with Prof Gordon Nichols and other members OHEJP consortium. This project will begin in January 2020.

Computational and mathematical skills and a good understanding of biological processes are required. Applicants need to hold an undergraduate degree in Mathematics or a related subject (e.g. Physics, Engineering). Undergraduates with a degree in Biological Sciences or related subjects are also welcomed as long as they have a strong interest in mathematical modelling. A Masters degree in a public health or epidemiological-related subject is desirable. Experience in mathematical modelling, biostatistics is desirable but not essential.

If English is not your first language, you will be required to have an IELTS Academic of 6.5 or above (or equivalent), with no sub-test score below 6.

Funding will cover University fees and a stipend for three years at RCUK levels (15,000 per year) for UK/EU students only. In addition, funding includes bench fees to a value of 10,000 over the three years to cover conference attendance.

Please apply for this PhD through the School of Veterinary Medicine PhD applications portal (click on the "Apply" tab). Please clearly state the studentship title on your application. Applicants are invited to contact Dr Lo Iacono to discuss the project informally prior to making an application.


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