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Rachel Clifton

Welcome to my ePortfolio! These pages give an overview of my research. Please feel free to contact me using the details provided if you have any questions or queries.

To find out more about the work of our research group or other epidemiology research at Warwick University please follow the links on the right-hand side of this page.

Research interests

I am interested in the persistence of bacterial pathogens and understanding complex bacterial communities. My current research is focused on footrot in sheep, the most common cause of lameness in sheep in the UK. During my PhD I have used a combination of molecular techniques and epidemiology to challenge existing beliefs regarding reservoirs of Fusobacterium necrophorum in footrot. I am committed to engaging others with my research, and have spent time with AHDB Beef & Lamb, my industrial CASE partner, explaining control of footrot to farmers, vets, students and the general public. More recently I have developed qualitative research skills, and am interested in using qualitative methods to better understand how to best implement research findings in practice.

Research summary

The role of Fusobacterium necrophorum in sheep and the environment in the severity and persistence of footrot.

I started my PhD at the University of Warwick School of Life Sciences in Oct 2013 and I am supervised by Professor Laura Green and Dr. Kevin Purdy.

Footrot is an infectious cause of lameness in sheep caused by a Gram-negative bacterium, Dichelobacter nodosus, with Fusobacterium necrophorum thought to act as a synergistic secondary pathogen. The aim of my research is to investigate the presence and persistence of Fusobacterium necrophorum in the environment of sheep, and how this relates to disease in the flock as well as the presence and persistence of Dichelobacter nodosus.

Footrot causes severe lameness and is therefore a major concern for both animal welfare and productivity. I hope that my research will provide a better understanding of this disease and enable the development of improved strategies for treatment and control in the future.

More detail on my PhD research can be found by clicking here.

Changing the education of young farmers to facilitate uptake of evidence based managements for healthy feet in sheep

I am co-investigator with Professor Laura Green on a Warwick Impact Fund award designing learning materials for agriculture students. We are using methods from social sciences and education studies to understand student beliefs and preferred learning methods. The aim of the project is to produce online resources for agriculture students and lecturers about lameness in sheep.

Academic History

I completed my undergraduate studies at the University of Cambridge, gaining a BA in Natural Sciences and a degree in Veterinary Medicine (VetMB). During the third year of my BA I chose to study pathology, in particular microbiology, epidemiology and parasitology and this is where my interest in veterinary epidemiology began.

After gaining my veterinary degree in 2010, I worked as a first opinion veterinary surgeon for three years, initially in mixed practice and then in small animal practice. Although I enjoyed this work, I missed the challenges of academic study and therefore decided to pursue the interests I had developed during my undergraduate degree. My project combines both microbiology and epidemiology, and also provides a mixture of both field work and laboratory work.

Rachel Clifton

Rachel Clifton

Postgraduate research student
School of Life Sciences
University of Warwick

Email:R dot Clifton dot 1 at warwick dot ac dot uk

LinkedIn profile

Green Group Research

The Zeeman Institute for Systems Biology & Infectious Disease Epidemiology Research (SBIDER)