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Isty Rysava


I am a PhD student in the Tildesley group at the Zeeman Institute for Systems Biology & Infectious Disease Epidemiology Research (SBIDER) at the University of Warwick, collaborating extensively with the Hampson lab in the Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine (BAHCM) at the University of Glasgow.

My primary study discipline is quantitative ecology with particular interest in population dynamics and the evolutionary and environmental determinants underlying the stability of ecological systems. Specifically, I seek to understand the processes leading to critical population bottlenecks and the interplay between vulnerability and persistence across a spectrum of scenarios, ranging from transmission dynamics and the impact of interventions in the context of disease elimination and re-emergence to life strategies and behavioural adaptations of fragile populations facing a risk of extinction.

I have explored this topic widely looking at population dynamics and Alee effects in critically endangered saiga antelope (Saiga tatarica) during my undergraduate degree, drivers of nutritional stress in relation to physiology and migratory behaviour of white-bearded wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus) from my MSc, to epidemiological dynamics of canine rabies in domestic dogs throughout my PhD.

The areas I am currently working on include:

  • The establishment of an intersectoral platform for enhanced surveillance and timely communication, aiming to facilitate appropriate vaccine recommendations and rabies control in the Philippines. The primary focus of this project is to streamline and operationalize surveillance guidelines through implementation of integrated bite case management coupled with epidemiological field investigations to optimize procurement of post-exposure prophylaxis in humans and deployment of mass vaccination in dogs.
  • The development of a modelling framework to characterize the general dynamics of rabies virus and its vector population. I use a combination of empirical data, computational simulations and modelling to address more specific questions in order to predict likely development patterns and investigate potential control or management measures whilst attempting to provide generalizable insights into the ecology of this enigmatic system.

You can read more about our work on rabies in Southeast Asia here and here.

In my free time I spy on cats, spiders and other magical creatures, obsess about oceans and other water bodies, and make plans to bring the world’s system down.


Brunker K., Jaswant G., Thumbi S. M., Lushasi K., Lugelo A., Czupryna A. M., Ade F., Wambura G., Chuchu V., Steenson R., Ngeleja C., Bautista C., Manalo D. L., Gomez M. R. R., Chu M. Y. J. V., Miranda M. E., Kamat M., Rysava K., Espineda J., Silo E. A. V., Aringo A. M. Bernales R. P., Adonay F. F., Tildesley M. J., Marston D. A., Jennings D. L., Fooks A. R., Zhu W., Meredith L. W., Hill S. C., Poplawski R., Gifford R. J., Singer J. B., Maturi M., Mwatondo M., Biek R., Hampson K. (2020) Rapid in-country sequencing of whole virus genomes to inform rabies elimination programmes. Wellcome Open Research 5(3). doi: 10.12688/wellcomeopenres.15518.1

*Suseno P. P, *Rysava K., Brum E., De Balogh K., Diarmita I. K., McGrane J., Tjatur Rasa F. S., Schoonman L., Crafter S., Sumantra I.P., Hampson K. (2019) Lessons for rabies control and elimination programmes – a decade of One Health experience from Bali, Indonesia. OIE Scientific and Technical Review 38 (1), 313–224. doi: 10.20506/rst.38.1.2954 *equal contributions

*Rysava K., *Miranda E., *Zapatos R., Lapiz S., Rances P., Miranda L.M., Roces M. C., Friar J., Townsend S. E., Hampson K. (2018) On the path to rabies elimination: the need for risk assessments to improve administration of post-exposure prophylaxis. Vaccine 37 (1). doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2018.11.066 *equal contributions

Mpolya A.E., Hampson K., Lembo T., Makungu S., Maziku M., Ngeleja C., Changalucha J., Mtema Z., Sambo M., Mchau G., Rysava K., Lushasi K., Nanai A., Kazwala R., Cleaveland S. (2017) Towards Elimination of Dog Mediated Human Rabies: experiences from South-Eastern Tanzania and the Pemba Island. Front. Vet. Sci. 4 (21). doi: 10.3389/fvets.2017.00021

Hampson K., Abela-Ridder, B., Brunker K., Bucheli S. T. M, Carvalho M., Caldas E., Changalucha J., Cleaveland S., Dushoff J., Gutierrez, V. Fooks A. R., Hotopp K., Haydon D. T., Lugelo A., Lushasi K., Mancy R., Marston D. A., Mtema Z., Rajeev M., Dourado L. R. M. P., Roldan J. G. G, Rysava K., Rocha S. M., Sambo M., Sikana L., Vigilato M., Del Rio Vilas V. (2016) Surveillance to Establish Elimination of Transmission and Freedom from Dog-mediated Rabies. bioRxiv. doi: 10.1101/096883

Mtema Z., Changalucha J., Cleaveland S., Elias M., Ferguson H., Halliday J., Haydon D., Kazwala R., Kour G., Killeen G., Lembo T., Lushasi K., Mancy R., Maligana A., Maziku M., Mbunda E., Mchau G., Murray-Smith R., Rysava K., Said K., Sambo M., Shayo E., Sikana L., Townsend S., Urassa H., Hampson K. (2016) Mobile Phones as Surveillance Tools: Implementing and Evaluating a Large-Scale Intersectoral Surveillance System in Tanzania. PLoS Med 13 (4). doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1002002

Rysava K., McGill R. A. R., Matthiopoulos J., Hopcraft J. G. C. (2016) Re-constructing nutritional history of Serengeti wildebeest from stable isotopes in tail hair: seasonal starvation patterns in an obligate grazer. Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry 30, 1461–1468. doi: 10.1002/rcm.7572



Office: Mathematical Sciences building 5.04

Twitter: @isty_rsquared