Dan graduated as a veterinarian from the University of Cambridge, UK, with an intercalated MA in zoology in 2002. After a period in mixed and second opinion exotic animal veterinary practice he completed an MSc in Wild Animal Health in London in 2005. He then undertook a PhD working at Cambridge University, the AHVLA and CDC Atlanta USA, on zoonotic viral diseases of wildlife. He completed his PhD in 2009 and joined the Wildlife Zoonoses and Vector-borne Diseases research Group at AHVLA Weybridge, undertaking surveillance and research programs for viral diseases of wildlife, with particular interest in pathogen evolution and the dynamics of infectious diseases in their natural hosts. He is an associate Editor for BMC Veterinary Research. In February 2014 he joined the new Veterinary School at the University of Surrey as a Lecturer in Veterinary Virology.
My previous experience spans the spectrum of infectious disease research, from fundamental work on the evolution of viral pathogens in my PhD, through to the applied aspects of control policy in current national and international rabies projects. An area of particular interest is the wildlife-livestock-human interface and its role in the emergence of pathogens. My previous research has given me a multifaceted perspective on this, including work characterising novel BSL3 pathogens in vitro and in-vivo, as well as planning, undertaking and interpreting data from surveillance programs for zoonotic pathogens in wildlife and domestic animals. Working in this area of viral zoonoses gives the one-health concept real meaning: in order to assess the risk posed by zoonotic infections you need to study the reservoir and the ecological niche that reservoir occupies, as well as the biology and behaviour of potential spill-over hosts.
An additional and allied area of interest is building veterinary and laboratory capacity internationally with obvious benefits for global biosecurity. This interest has been developed through several international collaborations on rabies, where I have combined technical assistance with research on the epidemiology of rabies.
Recent work includes:
Assessing the threat posed by novel lyssaviruses using a combination of genetic and phenotypic characterisation: next generation sequencing, in-silico,in-vitro, and in-vivo antigenic analysis.
Understanding the epidemiology of rabies viruses and their reservoirs in the Caucasus and Middle East using Bayesian phylogeography, and the application of that information to improve surveillance and control methods in the region.
Surveillance for vector borne diseases including West Nile Virus and Usutu Virus in birds.
Studying the dynamics of zoonotic viral infections of bats including lyssaviruses, henipah viruses and filoviruses.