Dr. James HassellPhD Student and Graduate Fellow (University of Liverpool)
I am a UK Medical Research Council-funded PhD student at the Institute of infection and Global Health, University of Liverpool, and am conducting my PhD as part of the Nairobi-based Urban Zoo project. My research interests are focussed on the epidemiology of emerging and established infectious diseases and the application of pathology in the study of wildlife disease, and I have a particular interest in the application of molecular tools to understand how diseases behave in wildlife populations.
For my PhD, I am working on the ecology of disease emergence in peri-domestic wildlife species (including rodents, bats, scavenging birds and primates) in the city of Nairobi, Kenya, by assessing their role in microbial transmission at key wildlife-livestock-human interfaces within the city. The initial focus of my PhD will be field orientated, and I will employ ecological sampling techniques, habitat mapping and sample collection (of rodents, bats, birds, primates and meso-carnivores) to investigate the diversity and distribution of peri-domestic wildlife in Nairobi and the diversity and community assemblage of microorganisms within these species. I will then use molecular epidemiology (antibiotic resistance testing, microbial typing and genetic sequencing of E. coli) to investigate potential transmission pathways between peri-domestic wildlife and livestock/humans, and assess the role of urban land-use change in transmission pathways between species of wildlife.
I qualified as a vet in 2011 from the Royal Veterinary College, London, with a combined degree in veterinary science and medicine. After graduating I worked in clinical practice in Devon and London, before gaining a Masters degree in Wild Animal Health from the Zoological Society of London and the Royal Veterinary College. My initial research interests have focussed on emerging diseases in primates, where human activity may influence the potential for domestic-primate, zoonotic and anthroponotic disease transfer. Through epidemiological and pathology-based projects working in collaboration with the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project and UC Davis Wildlife Health Centre on their One Health program in central Africa, I have been exposed to the cumulative effects of human activity on the epidemiology of disease (i.e. through ecosystem degradation or effects on the diversity and distribution of wildlife) and, as such, the importance of considering ecological systems in which infectious diseases occur in their entirety. Through this, I have developed a keen interest in the ‘One Health’ concept and believe that through such an approach, research can focus on identifying anthropogenic or natural drivers of ecosystem change that may influence human and animal health. These influencing factors will become increasingly relevant in the context of a growing global population and greater pressure on wildlife populations and natural resources, when it will be crucial for decision-makers to be well informed in order to implement human, domestic and wild animal health management improvements.
Hassell, J.M., Blake, D., Cranfield, M. R., Ramer, J., Hogan, J. N., Noheli, J. B., Waters, M. & Hermosilla, C. (2013) Occurrence and molecular analysis of Balantidium coli infections in Mountain Gorilla (Gorilla beringei beringei) in the Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda. Journal of Wildlife Diseases, 49(4): 1063-1065
Hogan, J. N., Miller, W.A., Cranfield, M.R., Ramer, J., Hassell, J. M., Noheli, J. B., Condrad, P.A. & Gilardi, K. V. K. Giardia in mountain gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei), forest buffalo (Syncerus caffer), and domestic cattle in Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda. (accepted for publication in the Journal of Wildlife Diseases)
Hassell, J.M., Blake, D., Cranfield, M. R., Ramer, J., Hogan, J. N., Noheli, J. B., Waters, M. & Hermosilla, C. (2012) Occurrence and molecular analysis of Balantidium coli infections in Mountain Gorilla (Gorilla beringei beringei) in the Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda. Abstract in Proceedings of the European Wildlife Disease Association Student Workshop, Veryrier-du-Lac, France, 2012
Hassell, J.M., Hogan, J., Noheri, J.B., Ramer, J., Cranfield, M., Waters, M. & Hermosilla, C. (2011) Gastrointestinal Helminths in three Sympatric Species sharing the Boundary of the Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda, Abstract in Proceedings of the Wildlife Disease Association Conference, Quebec, 2011
Hassell, J.M. (2007) Inferences on the evolution of bipedalism in extant apes: an observational study of carrying in captive bonobos (Pan paniscus). Biaza Research Newsletter, 8:1
jhassellNOSPAM@liv.ac.uk (please remove the ‘NOSPAM’ part of the address before sending)