Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
University Of Glasgow
I WORK ON MALARIA, A PARASITE CARRIED BY MOSQUITOES. DESPITE THE SUCCESS OF CONTROL PROGRAMS, MALARIA STILL CAUSES SIGNIFICANT DISEASE AND DEATH AROUND THE WORLD, KILLING MORE THAN HALF A MILLION PEOPLE EVERY YEAR, MOST OF THEM CHILDREN IN SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA. I USE MATHEMATICS AND STATISTICS TO UNDERSTAND HOW MOSQUITOES SPREAD MALARIA, AND HOW WE CAN STOP THIS.
Currently, I’m working as part of a team on a new kind of malaria that was identified as a threat to humans in 2004. This new malaria (Plasmodium knowlesi) circulates in monkeys in South East Asia, and occasionally infects humans. If not diagnosed and treated quickly, human cases of P. knowlesi can be severe or fatal. A major challenge in controlling this new malaria is the behaviour of the mosquitoes that carry it, which bite people outdoors in the early evening. This means that established control measures, such as insecticide treated bednets and the indoor spraying of insecticide, are unlikely to be effective against P. knowlesi.
We use mathematical approaches to combine data from scientists who work in clinics and the community with data from scientists who work with monkeys, insects and the tropical forest ecosystem to understand what factors lead to human infection with P. knowlesi. We aim to use this information to design new control measures that will prevent future human infection with P. knowlesi.
Dr Paddy Brock trained as a field biologist with interests in animal behaviour, evolution and ecology. His current research, at the Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine at the University of Glasgow, applies quantitative approaches to investigate disease transmission, particularly in multi-host systems that involve wildlife. He is working on a project funded by Environmental & Social Ecology of Human Infectious Diseases (ESEI) programme on the zoonotic malaria Plasmodium knowlesi, as part of a team integrating analysis tools from ecology and epidemiology.
Previously, he used statistical and mechanistic models to assess transmission-blocking interventions for malaria and the dynamics of co-infection between HIV and HPV (human papillomavirus). Paddy maintains an interest in the study of immunity in an ecological context, and explored this and related issues in the Galapagos sea lion for his PhD. He continues to collaborate with the Galapagos National Park on ways to incorporate research findings into conservation management programmes.