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PhD Studentship Topic

Using Mathematical models to understand the Dynamics and Control of Wildlife Diseases

1: Predicting transient disease dynamics and how they might effect disease control strategies - Most models of infectious disease spread look at the long term behaviour of the system and not at the short term dynamics; however, the latter is what is more useful biologically, particularly when investigating control measures. However, studying short term dynamics is more mathematically challenging.

2: Emerging diseases and wildlife reservoirs - Emerging diseases are defined as those which are affecting new hosts or appearing in new geographical areas. It is often the case that these diseases are passed to humans from wildlife due to changes in land use which cause increased contacts between humans and wildlife. It is important to understand how and why diseases emerge and to be able to predict the emergence of new diseases. Determining how to control these diseases is also vital.

3: Tolerance vs resistance - Many macro-parasite infections can illicit different responses from different individuals. We hypothesise that this is due to differences in fitness and in immune response with less fit individuals expending their energy on parasite tolerance rather than resistance. The aim of this project would be to develop a within host model that determines the relationship between fitness and immune response and what the optimal response is for any given individual.

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