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Joanne Winter

About Me

I graduated from the University of Warwick with a BSc (Hons) Biomedical Science degree in 2013. I then spent the summer working on a URSS-funded research project investigating the costs of managing lameness in sheep. In October 2013 I began an MSc by Research in Veterinary Epidemiology, under the supervision of Professor Laura Green.

I submitted my MSc in December 2014 and graduated in July 2015. I am currently studying for a PhD in Epidemiology at University College London.


Footrot is a major welfare concern in sheep and can present as interdigital dermatitis (inflammation of the interdigital skin of the foot) or as separation of the hoof horn from the underlying tissue. The estimated cost of footrot to the UK sheep industry is between £24-80 million annually. As well as the costs to farmers of preventing and treating footrot, lame sheep are less productive; they have lower body condition scores, produce fewer lambs which gain weight less rapidly and have an increased risk of disease and death. Estimates of lameness prevalence in England have decreased from 10.4% in 2004 to 3.5% in 2013.

There are two aspects to my research:

Risk factors associated with ovine footrot

Due to changes in management of lameness, factors previously associated with high levels of lameness may have changed and an up-to-date risk factor analysis is needed to provide information on priorities for further research into controlling footrot. Questionnaire data was collected from over 1200 farmers in 2013 as part of a DEFRA-funded project and has been used to investigate the prevalence of different foot lesions in ewes and the temporal distribution of footrot and interdigital dermatitis in ewes and lambs. Associations between farmer management of footrot and lameness prevalence were investigated, modelling risk factors associated with lameness using a Poisson regression model.

The paper containing the results of this work has been published here.

Investigating the beliefs of key industry players regarding the management of footrot

We investigated how new research is taken up and used in the management of footrot in sheep. The aim of the project was to identify the beliefs of key players in the UK sheep industry, regarding the treatment of footrot and how they are directing their clients to manage footrot. I organised a workshop in which we measured the current beliefs of key players regarding the treatment of footrot and investigated whether presenting evidence for various treatments influenced these beliefs. We also collected data on how they currently recommend managing footrot and a discussion on practical approaches to managing footrot and priorities for future research.

Other Activities

Warwick URSS (Undergraduate Research Scholarship Scheme)
Costs of managing footrot in sheep: Links with farmer satisfaction and lameness prevalence

Footrot is an infectious disease which causes lameness in sheep, and is estimated to cost the UK farming industry upwards of £24 million per year. Around half of these cases are preventable, however to date, little research has been done into how cost effective different treatment and management strategies are. My project involved analysing data from UK farmers, investigating how they manage lameness, how much time and money they spend managing lameness, and how this relates to how satisfied they are with their management of lameness.

As part of the Farm Health Planning Project, Reading university developed a calculator for the costs of lameness from footrot. I used this calculator to estimate costs for individual farms as part of my analysis.

The results of this project have been submitted to The Veterinary Journal.

Writing Mentoring

I mentor international taught postgraduate students, helping them with the structure and use of the English language.

Industry Experience

As part of my undergraduate degree, I spent a year working at GlaxoSmithKline as a Clinical Data Scientist. I supported the Clinical Data Management department in creating, updating, maintaining and validating clinical study databases for late phase Oncology clinical trials. I worked primarily on phase III studies for a monoclonal antibody called ofatumumab (Arzerra), indicated for treatment of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia.

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Joanne Winter

joanne dot winter dot 14 at ucl dot ac dot uk