UCL Division of Biosciences


CBER Seminar Series - Lauren Enright, Imperial College, ZSL

03 August 2020, 1:00 pm–2:00 pm

CBER Seminar - Lauren Enright

Title: 'Modelling climate-driven rodent demography to understand and predict zoonotic disease dynamics'

Event Information

Open to

UCL staff | UCL students | UCL alumni




Amy Godfrey

Abstract: Infectious diseases are one of the many aspects of ecosystems that are changing on account of anthropogenic change, with climate among other factors playing an important role in many wildlife diseases. Zoonotic diseases (transmitted from wildlife to humans) make up the majority of human infectious diseases, making this relationship important for human as well as wildlife health. Although models are valuable for forecasting disease and advising interventions, there are currently no methods to understand the relationship between climate, population dynamics, and infectious disease dynamics via ecological detail or mechanism. First I will discuss results I have obtained using an existing long-term capture-mark-recapture study of rodents, which indicate that this rodent population (Mastomys natalensis in Morogoro, Tanzania) depends on both climate seasonality and variability on the demographic level. I will then present a method I have developed based on integral projection modelling (similar to matrix population modelling) to incorporate these climatic factors into a demographic model which includes a nested disease model. This nonlinear model is more suitable for the rodent population than a simpler linear or mass action population model. Finally I will discuss the results of applying of this modelling framework to predicting Lassa fever outbreaks in Nigeria, and more generally its value for understanding other zoonotic diseases.

About the Speaker

Lauren Enright

at Imperial College, ZSL

Lauren is a 3rd year PhD student at Imperial College London and ZSL Institute of Zoology, and is part of the Kate Jones lab in CBER.

More about Lauren Enright