Research Associate Epidemiologist, University of Liverpool

I studied Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia (1996-1999) focussing on population and community ecology, public health and statistics, after which I worked as a Research Assistant examining tick-borne zoonotic diseases in small mammal populations in Northern Italy, based at the Centro di Ecologia Alpina. In 2000, I began my PhD in the wildlife epidemiology research group of Prof. Peter Hudson, then at Stirling University, examining the factors associated with pheasant health which affect the dispersion of the gastrointestinal nematode Heterakis gallinarum, and supervised by Dr. Dan Tompkins and Peter. I held a visiting researcher role at the University of Otago, New Zealand, whilst writing up my thesis. My first role post-PhD (2004) was as a Staff Epidemiologist in the Mathematical Biology group at the Institute for Animal Health, working under Dr. Simon Gubbins. I worked predominantly on scrapie and atypical scrapie, was co-investigator on several large Defra grants and taught quantitative skills to IAH staff and students, but also undertook some research on Bluetongue as a part of my secondment (in 2006) to Veterinary Clinical Sciences at the University of Liverpool (UoL). In 2008-2009 I left IAH to work as Advanced Healthcare Scientist at the then Health Protection Agency (now PHE) in the NW Regional Office. In 2009 I began my first PDRA role at UoL, running the Enhance project under Prof. Matthew Baylis, working on methods to quantify the impact of infectious pathogens and examining the sensitivity of human and domestic animal pathogens to climate. From this work the Enhanced Infectious Diseases (EID2) database was borne. In 2012 and 2016 I was Research Co-Investigator on BBSRC grants to extend work on the EID2. Since 2012 I have been PDRA on the Integrate project under Prof. Sarah O’Brien. Integrate aims compare current and modern microbiology approaches to detect and act against gastrointestinal pathogens in people. I work in a central role helping to recruit patients and gather and manage data using a series of questionnaires and a central database. I was involved in the funding proposal for the international Network for Evaluation of One Health (NEOH) and am a National committee member, as well as Committee member for the Society for Veterinary Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine.

Personal Distinctions

Using Big Data Approaches in Risk Assessment (Invitation to Speak, Antimicrobial Resistance One Health Surveillance Masterclass, Foresight Centre, University of Liverpool 2016)
Prepare, Predict, Prevent: Creating Objectivity in Infectious Disease Risk Assessment using Big Data Approaches (Invitation to Speak, EOH Workshop on evaluation of data and information sharing in One Health initiatives, University of Copenhagen, Denmark 2016)
Can Big Data save the world? - Examples from epidemiology and public health (Keynote Speech, Panel member for a public debate at the Battle of Ideas festival, Barbican Centre, London 2015)
An International One Health Network - NEOH (Network for Evaluation of One Health) (Invitation to Speak, Second International Symposium on One Health, Foresight Centre, UoL 2014)
Predicting effects of climate change: ENHanCE – a risk assessment of human & animal pathogens (Keynote Speech, Pirbright Institute 2014)
Two talks about the ENHanCE project and using the H-index to prioritise pathogens (Invitation to Speak, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations 2013)
Quantifying the burden of disease: which pathogens are the most important? (Keynote Speech, North West Zoonoses Group 2011)
The ENHanCE project: assessing the scale of climate change’s impact on health (Invitation to Speak, University of Liverpool 2011)
Disease prioritisation within the ENHanCE project (ERA-NET Health and Climate in Europe) (Invitation to Speak, DISCONTOOLS project 2010)
Links between climate change and emerging infections: a bottom-up approach (Invitation to Speak, Molecular Epidemiology and Evolutionary Genetics of Infectious Diseases 2010)
ENHanCE project: A risk assessment of the impact of climate change on human health & well-being. (Keynote Speech, National Veterinary Institute, (SVA), Uppsala, Sweden 2010)

Administrative Roles

PDR member of the IGH Athena Swan Committee
UK Management Committee member and Short Term Scientific Mission Committee member, Network for Evaluation of One Health (NEOH)
Committee member for the Society for Veterinary Epidemiology and Preventative Medicine (SVEPM), helping to organise the annual conference and chair of emerging infections session.
Committee member and secretary for the annual North West Zoonoses Group including lead for organisation of annual conference
As a part of work for the Integrate project, I developed the necessary forms for sponsorship and ethics permissions and approvals. I also held a Home Office personal licence and co-wrote the application for the project licence for my work, whilst undertaking my PhD. When undertaking the experimental work for my PhD, I was responsible for ensuring that I, and my technician, worked within the conditions of each licence.

Experience

  • –present
    Research Associate Epidemiologist, University of Liverpool