PhD Student (completed)
Alison Peel has now left ZSL.
- Apr 2008-Apr 2012: PhD Research Student and Junior Veterinary Fellow in Infectious Diseases. Cambridge Infectious Diseases Consortium (CIDC).
- Oct-Dec 2007: Researcher - Risk:benefit analysis of domestic animal diseases and vaccination on wildlife populations. Galápagos Genetics, Epidemiology & Pathology Laboratory, Galápagos National Park, Leeds University, ZSL.
- Sep 2006-Sep 2007: MSc Wild Animal Health. Institute of Zoology and Royal Veterinary College.
- Dec 2003-Mar 2008: Veterinarian, private practice.
- Mar 1998-Dec 2003: BVSc, University of Sydney, Australia.
- Mar-Dec 2001: BSc(Vet), University of Sydney, Australia.
Current Research: The epidemiology of zoonotic viruses in the African bat, Eidolon helvum, using microsatellites to infer population connectivity.
Results from recent collaborative studies based in Cambridge have demonstrated that important zoonotic viral infections including Lagos Bat Virus (genotype-2 lyssavirus) and Nipah virus (a henipavirus) can be found in a pan-African species of bat, the straw-coloured fruit bat, Eidolon helvum. While Lagos Bat Virus has been previously detected in this species, Nipah virus has not previously been reported in Africa at all.
While the primary habitat for E. helvum is equatorial Africa, its migratory range extends throughout sub-Saharan Africa. It is migratory and at certain times of the year it lives in massive colonies of 5 to 10 million individuals. However when these colonies disperse, the actual migration patterns remain unknown.
Although one study indicates migrations of more than 2500km, the degree of contact in terms of gene flow and disease transmission between the many different colonies across Africa is completely unknown. The large seasonal colonies are often in close contact with huge human populations (e.g. in Abidjan, Accra and Kampala), and thus based on the recent findings of lyssavirus and henipavirus in this species, they also represent a public health concern.
To date, genetic samples from the Eidolon population in Ghana, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, and Malawi have been analysed, and initial mitochondrial DNA results point towards a large population with evidence of gene flow on a continental scale. Analysis of microsatellite markers (currently in progress) will provide further information on whether a finer substructure exists. The future focus will be using genetic metapopulation data to determine relationships between observed spatial heterogeneity of E. helvum populations and infectious disease dynamics.
A main expected outcome from research to gain further understanding on the distribution and epidemiology of lyssaviruses and henipaviruses in sub-Saharan Africa, to enable informed decisions to be made on environmental and wildlife management and permit conservation of this species whilst minimizing risk to human health.
- Dr. Andrew Cunningham, Reader and Head of Wildlife Epidemiology.
- Dr. James Wood, Director, Cambridge Infectious Disease Consortium.
- Dr. David Sargan, Director of Graduate Education, Graduate School of Life Sciences, University of Cambridge.
- Dr. Marcus Rowcliffe, Research Fellow and Reader, Behavioural and Population Ecology.
Collaborators: Stephen Rossiter (NERC Post-doctoral Research Fellow, Queen Mary), Richard Suu-ire (Veterinary Services Directorate and Wildlife Division of The Forestry Commission, Ghana).
Co-worker on Eidolon helvum: David Hayman (IoZ, CIDC), Kate Feldman (IoZ, CIDC)
MSc Research Project:
Qualitative risk analysis for the importation of live amphibians infected with Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Chytridiomycosis) into Great Britain.
Global trade in amphibians is implicated in the emergence and spread of the amphibian fungal disease chytridiomycosis (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, Bd). It has been proposed that the establishment of Bd in Great Britain could pose a serious threat to survival of native amphibian populations. This qualitative risk analysis considers the likelihood of the introduction and establishment of Bd in amphibian population(s) in Great Britain occurring as a result of the importation of infected live amphibians. OIE Risk Analysis Guidelines were followed in development of this risk assessment. Bd was identified as a hazard, with an overall high risk of release, establishment and spread in Great Britain. Risk management measures are suggested, however further investigation is required to assemble a complementary set of measures to reduce risks while ensuring that negative effects on trade are minimised. To supplement the risk analysis, data were obtained on the volume and origin of amphibian trade entering Great Britain and a selection of amphibians across the pet, aquatic, laboratory, and zoological trades were sampled to the detect presence of Bd infection. It was determined that current systems recording amphibian trade from Third Countries into Great Britain underestimate the volume of this trade tenfold. Bd infection was detected in amphibians imported for the pet trade and also in captive pet, laboratory and zoological collections. A nationwide survey to determine the incidence of Bd infection in wild and captive amphibians is required. A new database of the known global distribution of Bd infection in amphibians was compiled.
Peel, A.J., L. Vogelnest, et al. (2005) Non-Invasive Fecal Hormone Analysis and Behavioral Observations for Monitoring Stress Responses in Captive Western Lowland Gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla). Zoo Biology 24(5): 431-445.
Peel, A. (2006) Case Study: Cushing's Disease in an Onager (Equus hemionus). British Veterinary Zoological Society. Proceedings November meeting 2006. Bristol University and Zoo p 97.
Peel, A., Cunningham, A.A., Hayman, D.T.S., Sargan, D.R., Rossiter, S. Kuzmin, I.V. Suu-Ire, R. and Wood, J.L.N. (2009) Population Connectivity of the Straw Coloured Fruit Bat (Eidolon helvum) using mitochondrial DNA. Proceedings of the First Conference on Bat Migration, Berlin, January 16-19th 2009. Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research, Berlin. p89.
T: 01223 765 631
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Cambridge Infectious Diseases Consortium
Dept of Veterinary Medicine
Cambridge, United Kingdom