Brief Curriculum Vitae
- 2016 - Present: PhD Researcher, London NERC DTP, Institute of Zoology and Queen Mary Univesity of London.
- 2015 - 2016: Pathology Technician, DRAHS Project, Institute of Zoology.
- 2014 - 2015: MSc Wild Animal Biology (with Distinction), Royal Veterinary College and Zoological Society of London.
- 2010 - 2013: BSc Biological Sciences (First Class), Lancaster University.
My main area of interest is the epidemiology and ecology of infectious diseases in wild animal populations. I am specifically interested in understanding what causes pathogens to spill-over and diseases to emerge, with a particular focus on diseases that are of a conservation and One Health concern.
My PhD research examines the disease ecology of avian malaria in the Galápagos archipelago and is funded by the London NERC Doctoral Training Partnership.
The Galápagos Islands are famous for their unique biodiversity and the role this played in Charles Darwin’s formulation of the theory of evolution by natural selection. However, oceanic islands with high proportions of endemic species, such as Galápagos, are at particularly high risk of invasive species, including vectors and pathogens. A current example of this is the introduction of Culex quinquefasciatus, a non-native mosquito species and known vector of a number of avian diseases, to the islands in the 1980s. This situation in Galápagos is reminscent of one observed in Hawaii in the early 19th century, where the same non-native mosquito species was accidentally introduced and led to an epidemic of avian malaria - which played a major role in the extinction of numerous bird species found nowhere else on Earth. As recent work has also identified the Plasmodium parasite that causes avian malaria in Galápagos birds for the first time, this is an area of substantial concern for conservationists around the world.
My work uses a combination of fieldwork, laboratory analyses, experimental trials and computational methods to understand the roles of the introduced (Culex quinquefasciatus) and native (Aedes taeniorhynchus) mosquito species in transmitting Plasmodium parasites, and how this could impact endemic bird populations in Galápagos. In particular, I am focussing on understanding the competency of Aedes taeniorhynchus and Culex quinquefasciatus as vectors of avian Plasmodium, as well as identifying spatiotemporal distribution patterns of the two mosquito species across the islands.
Ultimately, this work will be used to inform biosecurity policies for the Galápagos National Park and Biosecurity Agency, and will play an important role in understanding the potential disease threats to endemic bird species in the islands which will be used to conserve many of these iconic species.
Professor Andrew Cunningham (Institute of Zoology)
Dr Rob Knell (Queen Mary University of London)
In collaboration with
Dr Laura Kramer (New York State Department of Health)
Professor Patricia Parker (University of Missouri - St Louis)
Dr Simon Goodman (University of Leeds)
Prior to starting my PhD, I worked on the Disease Risk Analysis and Health Surveillance (DRAHS) project at the Institute of Zoology, along with Dr Tony Sainsbury and Jenny Jaffe. This project works with a wide range of native UK species, examining the inherent risk of disease in wild animal translocations and reintroductions and aiming to reduce this risk using disease risk analysis and post-release health surveillance.
I also worked alongside Professor Andrew Cunningham on the newly-discovered amphibian chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal). This work began as my MSc research project, where I used contact-tracing methods to identify and test private amphibian collections for the presence of Bsal throughout the UK and Western Europe.
Cunningham AA, Smith F, McKinley TJ, Perkins MW, Fitzpatrick LD, Wright ON, Lawson B. (2019). Apparent absence of Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans in wild urodeles in the United Kingdom. Scientific Reports, 9, 2831.
Fitzpatrick LD, Pasmans F, Martel A, Cunningham AA. (2018). Epidemiologicial tracing of Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans identifies widespread infection and associated mortalities in private amphibian collections. Scientific Reports, 8, 13845.
Franklinos LHV, Lorch JM, Bohuski E, Rodriguez-Ramos Fernandez J, Wright ON, Fitzpatrick L, Petrovan S, Durrant C, Linton C, Baláž V, Cunningham AA, Lawson B. (2017). Emerging fungal pathogen Ophidiomyces ophiodiicola in wild European snakes. Scientific Reports. 7, 3844.
Cunningham AA, Beckmann K, Perkins M, Fitzpatrick L, Cromie R, Redbond J, O'Brien MF, Ghosh P, Shelton J, Fisher MC. (2015). Emerging disease in UK amphibians. Veterinary Record, 176, 468.