Bats & Bugs Project Co-ordinator and ZSL Biobank Manager
Area of work
Wildlife health & Science Resources

Louise's main area of research is looking at the epidemiology of emerging zoonotic viruses in African bats, including henipaviruses, Lagos bat virus and filoviruses.  

Her role includes designing diagnostic assays and managing an extensive freezer samples archive, with over 25,000 samples across four different sites. The project is an exciting opportunity to screen for various pathogens, thus providing further information on how disease outbreaks may occur.  This is particularly important in regions in Africa, as the ongoing human-wildlife conflict means there are increasing opportunities for disease ‘spill-overs’ between the two different populations to occur.

Louise has always been passionate about diagnostics and having started her scientific career in forensics, she is also interested in seeing how the techniques she learnt there can be transferred to other areas of wildlife epidemiological research. This puts Louise in a unique position as she has seen both sides of differential diagnosis in human-wildlife conflict, in terms of studying human interactions and how this can impact the spread of zoonotic diseases.  

She is also interested in seeing how laboratory techniques can improve and develop, and how these can be incorporated despite variations in resources to help humans and wildlife co-exist more harmoniously. 

She has also had the opportunity to be involved in other projects at ZSL, these currently include the use of forensic techniques to help end the illegal wildlife trade and the ZSL Biobank.

More information can be found here…  
Professional history
  • 2013-present: Project Coordinator and Research Technician for Bats and Bugs, Institute of Zoology, Wildlife Epidemiology
  • 2012-2013: Research Technician (NERC funded), The Natural History Museum, London – Studying genetic mechanisms of insecticide resistance in medflies
  • 2011-2012: Specimen Decant and Automation Facility Research Assistant, The Natural History Museum, Molecular Collections Facility, London – Setting up a brand new facility for the curation of genetic resources
  • 2008-2011: DNA Analyst, LGC Forensics – DNA profiling for the UK’s police forces
  • 2006-2007: Kings College, London – MSc Merit Forensic Science
  • 2003-2006: Imperial College, London – BSc Hons Biochemistry

Brook CE, Ranaivoson HC, Broder CC, Cunningham AA, Héraud JM, Peel AJ, Gibson L, Wood JLN, Metcalf CJ, Dobson AP. Disentangling serology to elucidate henipa- and filovirus transmission in Madagascar fruit bats. J Anim Ecol. 2019 

Glennon, E. E., D. J. Becker, A. J. Peel, R. Garnier, R. D. Suu-Ire, L. Gibson, D. T. S. Hayman, J. L. N. Wood, A. A. Cunningham, R. K. Plowright, and O. Restif. 2019. What Is Stirring in the Reservoir? Modelling Mechanisms of Henipavirus Circulation in Fruit Bat Hosts. Phil Trans B. 2019 

Suu-Ire R, Begeman L, Banyard AC, Breed AC, Drosten C, Eggerbauer E, Freuling CM, Gibson L, Goharriz H, Horton DL, Jennings D, Kuzmin IV, Marston D, Ntiamoa-Baidu Y, Riesle Sbarbaro S, Selden D, Wise EL, Kuiken T, Fooks AR, Müller T, Wood JLN, Cunningham AA. Pathogenesis of bat rabies in a natural reservoir: Comparative susceptibility of the straw-colored fruit bat (Eidolon helvum) to three strains of Lagos bat virus. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2018 

Peniche, G., Olson, P.D., Bennett, D.J., Wong, L., Sainsbury, A.W., and Durrant, C. Protecting Free-Living Dormice: Molecular Identification of Cestode Parasites in Captive Dormice (Muscardinus avellanarius) Destined for Reintroduction. EcoHealth. 2017