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Prof. Rowland Kao

I am a mathematical biologist who studies infectious disease dynamics, mainly with respect to the role of demography in the spread and persistence of livestock diseases, such as foot-and-mouth disease, bovine tuberculosis, scrapie, BSE and avian influenza in poultry. This work includes the development of theoretical models of disease transmission on social networks and applications to the transmission of livestock diseases using simple differential equation models, analysis of social networks, statistics and simulations. Increasingly, it involves the integrated analysis of genetic and epidemiological data to determine the characteristics of disease outbreaks, with bovine Tuberculosis being a lead example.

I am also interested in the development of real-time parameter estimation techniques during the course of disease outbreaks. This research integrates demographic and spatial/geographic data for all large livestock and poultry in the UK, detailed information regarding the movements of livestock amongst agricultural premises and molecular epidemiology. Within EPIC, much of the activity I am involved in considers the risks of disease transmission asssociated with livestock movements, in particular, identifying risky activities and the implications of controlling them.

As such it integrates a wide variety of topics, most importantly the analysis of networks, but also elements of human behaviour (why do farmers move livestock the way they do, and what would happen if the conditions under which they moved livestock, changed), risk-based surveillance (can we use livestock movements and other forms of contact to identify individual farms most at risk of disease, and/or of transmitting it) and parameter inference (from observed disease data, can we estimate the relative and absolute importance of different routes of contact).

Publications

Manipulation of contact network structure and the impact on foot-and-mouth disease transmission. S Mohr, M Deason, M Churakov, T Doherty, RR Kao

Risk-based strategies for surveillance of tuberculosis infection in cattle for low-risk areas in England and Scotland. LCM Salvador, M Deason, J Enright, PR Bessell, RR Kao

Quantifying the roles of host movement and vector dispersal in the transmission of vector-borne diseases of livestock. T Sumner, RJ Orton, DM Green, RR Kao, S Gubbins

An Integrated Framework for Process-Driven Model Construction in Disease Ecology and Animal Health. R Mancy, PM Brock, RR Kao

Modelling the impact of co-circulating low pathogenic avian influenza viruses on epidemics of highly pathogenic avian influenza in poultry. S Nickbakhsh, MD Hall, I Dorigatti, SJ Lycett, P Mulatti, I Monne, A Fusaro, MEJ Woolhouse, A Rambaut, RR Kao

A fast algorithm for calculating an expected outbreak size on dynamic contagion networks. J Enright, RR Kao

A descriptive analysis of the growth of unrecorded interactions amongst cattle-raising premises in Scotland and their implications for disease spread. J Enright, RR Kao

Broadwick: a framework for computational epidemiology. A O'Hare, SJ Lycett, T Doherty, LCM Salvador, RR Kao

A Few Bad Apples: A Model of Disease Influenced Agent Behaviour in a Heterogeneous Contact Environment. J Enright, RR Kao

Supersize me: how whole-genome sequencing and big data are transforming epidemiology. RR Kao, DT Haydon, SJ Lycett, PR Murcia

Risk factors for bovine Tuberculosis at the national level in Great Britain. PR Bessell, R Orton, PCL White, MR Hutchings, RR Kao

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