Bats are a diverse and widely distributed group of mammals, and have been identified as hots of several zoonotic viruses. However, identifying spillover events can be difficult, especially in developing countries with poor public health infrastructure. In order to better understand how viruses may be transmitted from bats to domestic animals and people, we have established a large, international, multi-disciplinary research programme on the epidemiology and ecology of viruses carried by African fruit bats. This involves field studies of bat populations, serology and virology, as well as socio-anthropology and mathematical modelling. We are looking for a motivated PhD student who can work at the interface of modelling, lab work and field work in order to understand the dynamics of paramyxoviruses in colonies of the Straw-coloured Fruit Bat Eidolon helvum. In particular, we want to understand how these viruses can persist in small populations, and how antibody levels relate to infection and protective immunity. Experiments in captive bat colonies will allow us to relate individual-level infection dynamics to population-level spread and persistence.
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