The Bloomsbury Colleges | PhD Studentships | Studentships 2019 | Influenza dynamics at the animal-human interface in relation to swine production systems in Cambodi
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Influenza dynamics at the animal-human interface in relation to swine production systems in Cambodia

Principal supervisor: Dr James Rudge (LSHTM)

Co-Supervisor: Dr Guillaume Founié (RVC)

Co-Supervisor: Prof Graham Medley (LSHTM)

Award includes tuition fees and a stipend of £16,777 including London Weighting (at 2018/19 rates, so slightly higher for 2019 entry)

100% FTE for 3 years, from September 2019.

Project Description:

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. In Cambodia, for example, the supply of pigs still relies largely on smallholders with low biosecurity, along with importation of pigs from neighbouring countries. However, numbers of larger-scale intensive farms are increasing, and often located in close proximity, or otherwise connected (e.g. via trading and contract farming), to smallholder systems. 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 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 on zoonotic and pandemic influenza risk, it will involve field surveys and network analyses to reconstruct animal movement networks within and across different pig production systems in Cambodia. Mathematical models of enzootic and zoonotic influenza transmission dynamics will be developed and fitted to epidemiological (serological and virological) 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 findings will have potential to inform policies for early detection and reduction of zoonotic and pandemic risk, through targeted surveillance strategies and modification of livestock practices. The developed models will also provide a tool to explore how growth and intensification of livestock sectors impact on zoonotic and pandemic risk.

 

Candidate requirements:

We invite applications from highly motivated students with an undergraduate degree (1st class or 2.1) in biological sciences, mathematics, statistics, or related subject, or a veterinary or clinical degree. A Master’s degree in epidemiology or related subject with a strong quantitative component is also desirable. The candidate will have opportunities to spend time at LSHTM overseas sites in SE Asia, and should be willing to conduct fieldwork in Cambodia.

 

The student will benefit from interactions and affiliations with intercollegiate working groups and centres, particularly the Centre for Mathematical Modelling of Infectious Diseases (CMMMID) at LSHTM, which provides seminars and access to expertise across LSHTM, RVC and PHE in disease modelling. The candidate will become a full member of CMMID and be encouraged to make full use of the informal training opportunities.

 

Due to funding restrictions, this studentship is only open to candidates classified as “Home/EU” students for fee purposes.

Subject Areas/Keywords:

Influenza; transmission dynamics; mathematical modelling; network analysis; One Health; livestock systems; epidemiology; disease surveillance.

Key References:

Smith GJD, Bahl J, Vijaykrishna D, Zhang J, Poon LLM, Chen H, et al. Dating the emergence of pandemic influenza viruses. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2009;106(28):11709-12.

Coker RJ, Hunter BM, Rudge JW, Liverani M, Hanvoravongchai P. Emerging infectious diseases in southeast Asia: regional challenges to control. Lancet. 2011; 377: 599-609.

Baudon E, Fournié G, Hiep DT, Pham TT, Duboz R, Gély M, Peiris M, Cowling BJ, Ton VD, Peyre M. Analysis of Swine Movements in a Province in Northern Vietnam and Application in the Design of Surveillance Strategies for Infectious Diseases. Transbound Emerg Dis. 2017;64(2):411-424.

Lloyd-Smith JO, George D, Pepin KM, Pitzer VE, Pulliam JR, Dobson AP, et al. Epidemic dynamics at the human-animal interface. Science. 2009;326(5958):1362-7.

Further details about the project may be obtained from:

Principal Supervisor: Dr James Rudge (james.rudge@lshtm.ac.uk) https://www.lshtm.ac.uk/aboutus/people/rudge.james

Co-Supervisor: Dr Guillaume Founié (gfournie@rvc.ac.uk);

https://www.rvc.ac.uk/about/our-people/guillaume-fournie

Co-Supervisor: Prof Graham Medley (graham.medley@lshtm.ac.uk); https://www.lshtm.ac.uk/aboutus/people/medley.graham

 

Further information about PhDs at LSHTM is available from:

https://www.lshtm.ac.uk/study/courses/research-degrees-and-doctoral-college

Application forms and details about how to apply are available from:

https://www.lshtm.ac.uk/study/courses/research-degrees/mphil-phd#how-to-apply

 

Please contact scholarships@lshtm.ac.uk for queries related to the submission of the application.

 

Please use the standard LSHTM online application system to apply for this studentship and state clearly under the funding section that you are applying for this particular studentship. Since you are applying for an existing project, you don't need to include a research proposal. Instead, please upload a cover document which states that you are applying for this studentship. This should be a one page statement which outlines why you are a good candidate for the PhD.

 

Closing date for applications is:    
31st March 2019