I am currently a third year PhD student on the complexity science doctoral training program at the University of Warwick, and a Zeeman Institute: Systems Biology & Infectious Disease Epidemiology Research (SBIDER) group member.
My PhD project title is "modelling influenza at the human-animal interface". Influenza inhabits many hosts and has many strains. The biology and epidemiology of influenza is radically different depending on the host species: while ducks are essentially asymptomatic carriers of all influenza strains, in other birds and mammals influenza can be lethal. Very occasionally, humans become infected with a virus derived from non-human sources. These are essentially novel to humans. Due to the viruses meeting with little or no established resistance they can, following mutation and adaptation to their new host, spread relatively easily in the human species. This can give rise to a localised outbreak that may develop into a worldwide influenza pandemic.
There is a worrying gap in the modelling of spillover transmission from animals to humans. My project will focus on addressing the lack of established modelling tools that represent this interface, with the applied aim of aiding design of control strategies for influenza in presence of multiple strains at the animal-human interface, and their effectiveness.