I am interested in the role of the environment in transmission of environmental pathogens, in particular mycobacteria, such as those responsible for causing tuberculosis in humans (primarily Mycobacterium tuberculosis) and animals (primarily Mycobacterium bovis). Research focuses on epidemiological studies of M. bovis in the environment in the UK and in the Republic of Ireland. As part of an international team of researchers, I have been involved in development, optimisation and validation of a molecular detection test for M. bovis in the environment. This test is being applied to investigate the efficacy of badger vaccination against M. bovis. I am also interested in the transmission dynamics of mycobacteria in Africa, looking at the role of the environment in the spread of both M. tuberculosis and M. bovis in human, domestic animal and wildlife populations. My current project aims to map environmental sources of M. bovis in farm environments to further our understanding of prevalence in the environment, possible transmission routes within and between species. This work will feed into design of farm biosecurity measures to limit potential routes of transmission of M. bovis and spread of bovine tuberculosis.
I also have an interest in metagenomics and have previously co-ordinated a network of UK researchers interested in the exploitation of metagenomics and meta-omics approaches in life science research (Community network in metagenomics, ComMet)
Other professional interests include synthetic biology, bioremediation and phytoremediation and the development and implementation in C of mathematical models to simulate mutator densities, under both spatially and temporally variable environmental conditions.