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Disease Transmission Path Analysis

The ‘Analytical Tools to Determine the Path of Farm-to-Farm Disease Transmission’ project is an important initiative to help us better understand how the foot-and-mouth-disease virus might spread via natural pathways, for example wind, between properties in the event of an outbreak.

Project team:

Peter Durr
CSIRO
AAHL
Chris Cowled
CSIRO
AAHL
Kerryne Graham 
CSIRO
AAHL
Peter Durr has worked as a veterinary epidemiologist since 1998, initially at the Veterinary Laboratories Agency (Weybridge) in the UK, and since 2006 with the Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL) based in Geelong, Victoria. At AAHL, his work has mostly been on the epidemiology of Transboundary Animal Diseases, particularly highly pathogenic avian influenza, bluetongue, foot-and-mouth disease and Newcastle disease. He has a specialist interest in the design and implementation of web-based systems which integrate conventional surveillance with molecular data, termed “molecular surveillance systems”, with the SPREAD application being an example. Dr Christopher Cowled is a research scientist at CSIRO’s Australian Animal Health Laboratory in Geelong. Prior to this, Chris studied at Monash University, worked at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (WEHI) and King’s College in London. Since 2007, Chris has published 28 peer-reviewed papers in journals including Science, PNAS and Nature Reviews Immunology. His research interests broadly encompass virology, immunology and genomics and he has extensive experience using next-generation sequencing to study virus-host interaction. Since his PhD on arboviruses through to his most recent research activities which include a platform for biomarker discovery (for Hendra virus) and pipelines for large-scale NGS data analysis, Chris has consistently built his knowledge and skills around bioinformatics of infectious diseases. He brings to this project a potent blend of molecular virology and advanced scientific computing. Kerryne is a big data analyst with a Master in Geographic Information Technology.  Since joining AAHL in 2008, she has been involved in a number of big data projects including the first national analysis of the NLIS database of cattle movements.  Most recently she oversaw the build of a web-based application (“TAPPAS”) which allows for the efficient simulation of long distance wind dispersion (LDWD) of pests and pathogens.  Although the SPREAD application is very different from TAPPAS, the experience of working collaboratively with the Bureau of Meteorology for the atmospheric dispersion modelling and with the Intersect development team to construct the web interface has made the complex build of SPREAD technically feasible.