Bloomsbury PhD studentship: Influenza dynamics at the animal-human interface in relation to swine production systems in Cambodia

Influenza pandemics evolve undetected in animal hosts for several years before detection in humans, and the role of swine in the 2009-H1N1 pandemic is well documented. However, little is known about the ecology and evolution of influenza viruses in pigs, particularly in Southeast Asia, where surveillance is limited, and conditions are fertile for virus re-assortment and pandemic emergence. Consumption and production of livestock in this region has increased dramatically in recent years, with livestock systems undergoing rapid change. The implications for zoonotic and pandemic disease emergence remain unclear but are likely to be profound. A better understanding of influenza dynamics at the swine-human interface is needed to identify where risks of zoonotic transmission and virus re-assortment are highest, and how these risks are influenced by livestock practices.

This PhD project will aim to characterise influenza dynamics in relation to swine production systems in Cambodia, to inform pandemic surveillance and risk mitigation strategies in resource-limited settings. Integrated within a larger programme of work, it will involve field surveys and network analyses to reconstruct animal movement networks within and across different pig production systems. Mathematical models of enzootic and zoonotic influenza transmission dynamics will be developed and fitted to epidemiological data from pigs and humans. The models will be used to simulate influenza dynamics under current and anticipated pig sector configurations, and evaluate the effectiveness of strategies for detection and mitigation of zoonotic and pandemic emergence.

The successful student will be registered at LSHTM, with co-supervision at both LSHTM and RVC. The student will benefit from interactions and affiliations with intercollegiate working groups and centres, and become a member of the Centre for Mathematical Modelling of Infectious Diseases (CMMMID) at LSHTM. The student will also have opportunities to spend time at LSHTM overseas sites in SE Asia.

PhD position
London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and Royal Veterinary College
United Kingdom
Closing date
March 31st, 2019
Posted on
January 8th, 2019 05:18
Last updated
January 8th, 2019 06:26