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Overview

Current Work

"Bridging the gaps in Hendra virus research"
In partnership with the Queensland Centre for Emerging Infectious Diseases (QCEID), Biosecurity Queensland and the Emerging Zoonotic Disease Group at the CSIRO Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL).

In Australia, the most widely studied bat virus is the paramyxovirus Hendra virus (HeV), yet a diverse community of viruses has been detected in Australian flying-foxes. Although HeV or anti-HeV virus antibodies have been detected in all four flying-fox species present in Australia, recent studies investigating aspects of the host-pathogen relationship suggests that the closely related black and spectacled flying-foxes (Pteropus alecto and P. conspicillatus) may be the primary reservoir host. Natural host-virus systems are complex and there is increasing awareness of the importance of understanding ‘host communities’ (a single virus may have multiple reservoir hosts, each with heterogeneous contributions to pathogen dynamics, persistence and spillover) and ‘viral communities’ (known zoonotic viruses are often detected alongside a wide diversity of viruses in their natural hosts, with unknown pathogenic potential). The species-specificity of HeV is only just beginning to be elucidated; for other Australian bat paramyxoviruses, it is unknown. We are utilising a novel high-throughput multiplex PCR to simultaneously detect up to nine known bat paramyxoviruses in individual urine samples from four Australian flying-fox species and will interpret results in the context of a novel reservoir framework, reconsidering HeV as part of a multi-host-multi-virus community.
 

News

Expertise Keywords

  • Bats
  • Disease Ecology
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Mathematical modelling
  • Wildlife epidemiology

Country Affiliations

  • Australia
  • Equatorial Guinea
  • Ghana
  • São Tomé and Príncipe
  • Tanzania
  • United Kingdom

Research Publications and Outputs

Recent Publications

Publications: 32 (Other: 32)

Funded Griffith Research

Engagement and Impact

Learning and Teaching

Current and Past Courses

  • Emerging Topics Conservation (3308ENV)
    Teacher, In Person, Gold Coast Campus, Semester 2, 2019.
  • Emerging Topics Conservation (3308ENV)
    Teacher, In Person, Nathan Campus, Semester 2, 2019.
  • Quantitative Ecology (3241ENV)
    Teacher, In Person, Nathan Campus, Semester 1, 2019.
  • Quantitative Ecology (3241ENV)
    Teacher, In Person, Nathan Campus, Semester 1, 2018.

Research by Higher Degree Supervision or Scholarship

Supervision Overview

Current PhD Students
Jaewoon Jeong: "Modelling viral infectious diseases of bats in Australia"
John Giles: "Determining the role of flying fox population dynamics in the emergence of Hendra virus in Australia"
Eloise Stephenson: "A systems approach to Ross River virus transmission: understanding the reservoir-vector-human interface to inform management strategies"

Background

Bio

My research focus on wildlife disease ecology and epidemiology has grown out of a lifetime interest in wildlife, which further developed during my Veterinary Science degree and BVSc(Vet) research degree at the University of Sydney, and matured towards an emphasis on the dynamics and drivers of infectious disease during and since my Masters in Wild Animal Health and PhD.

My MSc was based at the Royal Veterinary College and Institute of Zoology, London, and involved a research project on the risk of importing amphibian chytridiomycosis into the UK. I completed my PhD at the University of Cambridge in 2012, and investigated the population genetics and epidemiology of henipaviruses and lyssaviruses in African fruit bats. I've been based in Australia again since 2013 and am investigating Hendra- and other virus dynamics in Australian flying foxes through a Queensland Government Accelerate Early Career Research Fellowship.
 

Education and Training

  • BSc Vet Bachelor of Science (Veterinary), University of Sydney 2001 - 2001
  • BVSc Bachelor of Veterinary Science, University of Sydney 1998 - 2003
  • MWildAnimHealth Masters in Wild Animal Health, Royal Veterinary College, London 2006 - 2007
  • PhD Doctor of Philosophy, University of Cambridge 2008 - 2012

Academic experience

  • Postdoctoral Research, 2013 - 2014
  • Postdoctoral Research, 2012 - 2012
  • Postdoctoral Research, 2012 - 2012
  • Postdoctoral Research, University of Cambridge 2012 - 2012

Awards and Honours

  • 'Vet Week' Student Research Poster Winner, University of Sydney 2001 - 2001
  • H.R Carne Prize and Medal for excellence in BSc(Vet) (award for highest aggregate marks), University of Sydney 2001 - 2001
  • Australasian Wildlife Disease Association Conference Student presentation award, Wildlife Disease Association 2002 - 2002
  • Australian Government Rural Veterinary Bonded Scholarship, Federal Government: Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service 2003 - 2004
  • MSc Wild Animal Health, Award for highest aggregate marks, Royal Veterinary College, London 2007 - 2007
  • Best Student Poster at the First International Berlin Bat Meeting, Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW) 2009 - 2009
  • Best Student Presentation at the Second International Berlin Bat Meeting, Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW) 2010 - 2010

Professional experience

  • Veterinary Surgeon, 2003 - 2008

External service roles

  • Queensland State Representative, Wildlife Disease Association 2015 - Present

Professional memberships

  • WDA Member, Wildlife Disease Association 2001 - Present
  • ABS Member, Australasian Bat Society 2015 - Present
  • AMS Member, Australian Mammal Society 2017 -
  • Member, Franklin Women 2017 -
  • AVA Member, Australian Veterinary Association 1998 - 2003