Joe is a multi-faceted researcher of infectious and neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), with a particular interest in detecting and preventing the transmission and morbidity of vector-borne diseases.
During the completion of his MSc, Joe undertook a research project that explored the demand for and acceptability of an integrated morbidity management service for lymphatic filariasis and leprosy patients in Nepal. The findings have led to the provision of a much-needed but basic service that can help to alleviate the chronic and acute symptoms of lymphatic filariasis.
Before joining the MRC DTP, Joe worked for the Cochrane Infectious Diseases Group. In this role he produced a series of systematic reviews that assessed the impact of vector-control interventions on malaria transmission. These reviews have been used to help develop the first formal global malaria vector control guidelines. During this time, he also contributed to reviews assessing the effectiveness and safety of treatments for malaria and other NTDs.
During the MRes programme, Joe gained experience using molecular methods to detect pathogenic material in both wild-caught and experimentally-infected vectors. He is interested in exploring this methodology further, as it can be used both to improve understanding of the interactions between pathogens and vectors, and by disease control programmes to identify areas with active transmission of a disease. This can be particularly important in areas approaching elimination of a disease, helping to identify specific foci that require continued intervention, or to detect emergence/re-emergence of a disease before it has the opportunity to spread. During the completion of his PhD, Joe’s research will explore how these methods can be optimised, for example using multiplexing to screen for several different pathogens at once. His research will also investigate the possibilities for detecting human pathogens in other blood-feeding insects that are not necessarily vectors for the disease