The Univeristy of Melbourne The Royal Melbourne Hopspital

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EDUCATION

Research Projects

Project: Investigating combined impacts of interventions against scabies and group A Streptococcus using transmission models

McVernon Group

Group A Streptococcus (Streptococcus pyogenes, Strep A) is a ubiquitous pathogen that is a common cause of skin sores and pharyngitis.  While often mild, these superficial infections are the precursors of both invasive disease and immune-mediated conditions such as acute rheumatic fever (ARF), rheumatic heart disease (RHD) and acute post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis (APSGN). Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians have some of the highest rates of these diseases globally. One of the main drivers of Strep A infections in these populations is scabies, an infestation of tiny mites that burrow under the skin and cause severe itching. Using an individual-based model, we have recently quantified the benefits of targeting primordial factors associated with an increased risk of Strep A infection as an approach to reduce the burden of the Strep A immune-mediated diseases. Separately, we have developed transmission models to estimate the impact of mass drug administration, a common intervention for neglected tropical diseases, on the prevalence of scabies.  This project will develop models that merge the transmission dynamics of both Strep A and scabies, to investigate the combined impacts of controlling scabies through mass drug administration and targeting primordial factors underlying Strep A infections. Results of the modelling will be used to better inform prioritization of intervention strategies against these diseases in Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations.   

This project is only open to Australian citizens.

Contact project supervisor for further
information and application enquiries

Project Supervisor

Dr Trish Campbell

Project Co-supervisor

Dr Rebecca Chisholm and Dr David Price

Project availability
PhD/MPhil

McVernon Group

j.mcvernon@unimelb.edu.au

13 vacancies

Themes
Immunology
Viral Infectious Diseases
Cross Cutting Disciplines
Epidemiology

Professor Jodie McVernon is a physician with subspecialty qualifications in public health and vaccinology. She has extensive expertise in clinical vaccine trials, epidemiologic studies and mathematical modelling of infectious diseases, gained at the University of Oxford, Health Protection Agency London and the University of Melbourne. Her work focuses on the application of a range of cross-disciplinary methodological approaches, including mathematical and computational models, to synthesise insights from basic biology, epidemiological data and sociological research. These models advance understanding of the observed epidemiology of infectious diseases and inform understanding of optimal interventions for disease control.