New NIHR HPRU in Gastrointestinal Infections PhD Studentship

Understanding the human ecology of norovirus infection and outbreaks

PhD Supervisor: Dr Jon Read

PhD Co-Supervisor: Professor Sarah O'Brien

Application Deadline: Sunday 29 November 2015

Funding Availability: Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)


Norovirus is a deadly and hard to control pathogen, and is the third most costly healthcare associated infection in the UK. This project aims to improve our understanding of the epidemiological characteristics of norovirus and its evolutionary dynamics. This will be achieved through a combination of meta-analysis of outbreak and genomic data, and the development of state-of-the-art dynamic transmission models in the community and healthcare settings. This studentship would suit a graduate with strong quantitative skills looking to develop expertise in mathematical modelling, infectious disease outbreak analysis, and viral evolutionary dynamics.

The project will deliver:

•    A systematic meta-analysis of community and healthcare outbreaks in UK
•    Estimates of reproduction number and efficacy of control interventions in different settings
•    Estimation of transmission rates of symptomatic and asymptomatic infection in various settings
•    Estimation of seasonal dynamics of norovirus infection
•    Insights into evolutionary dynamics and strain competition of norovirus.


 - Harris, J. P., B. A. Lopman, and S. J. O'Brien. "Infection control measures for norovirus: a systematic review of outbreaks in semi-enclosed settings." Journal of Hospital Infection 74.1 (2010): 1-9.

- Heijne, Janneke CM, et al. "Quantifying transmission of norovirus during an outbreak." Epidemiology 23.2 (2012): 277-284.

 - Van Kerckhove, Kim, et al. "The impact of illness on social networks: Implications for transmission and control of influenza." American Journal of Epidemiology 178.11 (2013): 1655-1662.


This PhD studentship is for three years and provides a full stipend. Potential students must be highly motivated and in possession of or about to receive an honours degree in a relevant discipline with either a 2.1 or 1st. A 2.2 honours degree will only be acceptable for students who go on to achieve a Distinction in a relevant Masters programme.

Please email your application to:
This should consist of two documents attached as PDFs; a CV and a covering letter. Please limit your CV to three pages and state in your covering letter the title of the PhD you are applying for. Do not attach any other documents. The subject heading of the email should only state ‘HPRU PhD application 2015’. Candidates shortlisted for interview will be informed in due course. Please note we are only recruiting UK/EU/home rated students and only eligible students should apply.

Posted on: 10/11/2015