- 2017–present: PhD Student, ACCE NERC DTP, University of Liverpool & Zoological Society of London
- 2014–2015: MRes. in Ecology, Evolution and Conservation, Imperial College London
- 2011–2014: BSc in Biology, University of Portsmouth
I am interested in the link between individuals' social behaviour and their role in mixed-species communities. In the past, I have investigated intra- and inter-specific interactions in a woodland rodent community using social network theory. Presently, I am researching the host behaviours that potentially drive the disease dynamics in amphibian-disease systems.
I am a PhD student split between the University of Liverpool and the Institute of Zoology, ZSL. My research focusses on host-pathogen interactions in a disease system of global conservation concern. Globally, amphibian populations are experiencing dramatic declines. A great extent of the extinctions and population declines have been driven by two emerging pathogens Ranavirus and Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), which have been flagged as major conservation concerns. Both pathogens, one a virus and the other a fungal zoospore, are able to infect a broad range of host species. Not all of the species infected respond in the same way, meaning that host species often play different functional roles in the maintenance of disease. Worryingly, recent studies on declining amphibian populations have also show that the two pathogens commonly co-infect a host. The possibility of co-infection, across numerous host species, presents a complex multi-pathogen, multi-host situation.
To help unpick the tangled dynamics of this multi-host, multi-pathogen system I use experimental systems, molecular lab techniques, and infectious disease modelling with the focus of characterising within-host and between-host dynamics.
Currently, my focus is establishing the extent different host species, at an individual level, contribute to the environmental pool of infectious particles, and how being infected singularly or coinfected alters this. If we understand what each host contributes, we can start to define the transmission process between an infectious host and a susceptible individual, which in turn will provide insight into how these diseases persist, both singularly and as coinfections, at a community level.
This work is in partnership with the Herpetology Section of the Zoological Society of London. The team there provide us with insight into the ecology and behaviour of amphibians. When studying pathogens that infect such a wide range of amphibian species, globally, this specialism is crucial for shaping realistic and accurate investigations of a complex host-pathogen system. In return, I hope to use my research to inform the herpetology community in their conservation efforts and help to devise mitigation strategies for these two emerging infectious diseases.
Professor Andy Fenton, University of Liverpool
Professor Trent Garner, Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London
Dr Jenny Hodgson, University of Liverpool
Ben Tapley, (CASE Partner), Zoological Society of London
Collaborators & Contributors
Dr David Daversa, Post-doc, Institute of Zoology and University of Liverpool
Dr Joice Ruggeri, Post-doc, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and visiting researcher at the Institute of Zoology
Christopher Owen, PhD Student, Institute of Zoology and University College London
Lola Brookes, PhD student, Institute of Zoology and RVC
Chris Sergeant, Animal Technician, Institute of Zoology & NACWO
Kevin Hopkins, Senior Technician, Institute of Zoology