Supervisors: Dr Nicola Wardrop, Dr Eric FÃ¨vre (University of Liverpool and International Livestock Research Institute, Kenya), Professor Peter Atkinson
Infectious diseases, including zoonotic diseases (those which transmit from animals to humans) cause a considerable burden in developing countries in terms of morbidity and mortality in humans and animals, loss of productivity and economic losses. Many infectious diseases exhibit strong correlations with environmental factors (e.g. land cover, precipitation), and spatial analyses and modelling can be used to provide further understanding of disease epidemiology, supporting disease control programmes. This PhD project will make use of a comprehensive and unique dataset to provide further understanding of the spatial epidemiology of infectious diseases in East Africa.
The PhD student will use GIS, spatial analysis and spatial modelling methods to analyse a recently completed dataset on the occurrence of infectious diseases in both livestock and humans in rural Western Kenya (the dataset covers a wide range of infections, including cysticercosis, Q-fever, malaria and helminthiasis). The dataset includes information on risk factors, co-infections with several pathogens, economics, environmental data and geographic data on disease distributions. We aim to recruit a PhD student with strong GIS and statistical modelling skills, preferably with a Masters Degree in a relevant subject, to build spatial statistical models that capture the interactions between disease occurrence in humans and/or livestock, and environmental factors. The work will involve both epidemiological and spatial modelling techniques, with the ultimate aim of providing evidence regarding spatial risk factors for disease transmission within Western Kenya. The project outputs should inform the development of improved evidence-based control measures. There is also scope to make use of additional similar datasets from an urban setting in Nairobi (data collection currently ongoing).
The successful candidate will join a team of collaborative researchers from Southampton, Liverpool and Kenya. There is also potential for the candidate to spend time in East Africa at our collaborating institutions, especially the International Livestock Research Institute (www.ilri.org).