Alex Mastin

Dr Alexander Mastin

Research Fellow in Ecological/Epidemiological Simulation Modelling

Office Times

Please contact me by e-mail

Biography

I originally studied veterinary science at the University of Liverpool, during which time I also completed an intercalated degree in veterinary pathology at the Royal Veterinary College. After a few years in veterinary practice, I was granted a scholarship to study veterinary epidemiology at the Royal Veterinary College and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. I remained at the Royal Veterinary College after this, working as a research assistant to Professor Dirk Pfeiffer. During this time, I largely focussed on animal viruses of potential zoonotic significance and on the effects of biosecurity practices on preventing pathogen entry to cattle farms. I then moved to the University of Salford to study for a PhD with Professor Philip Craig: investigating the detection and control of zoonotic species of tapeworms of the genus Echinococcus in China and the Central Asian country of Kyrgyzstan. Following on from this, I was offered a Postdoctoral research position at the university, working with Dr Stephen Parnell on early detection surveillance for invasive plant pathogens.

Teaching

Although I currently have no formal teaching commitments, I am involved in teaching statistics, and offer statistical assistance to students and researchers when required.

Research Interests

I am interested in the use of statistical and mathematical tools to better understand epidemiological and ecological processes, with a particular view towards applying these to improve surveillance of both invasive pathogens/pests and endemic pathogens/parasites. During my PhD, I developed approaches for improving the amount of information which could be obtained from simple diagnostic tests in order to better estimate the level of infection of dogs with Echinococcus tapeworms in endemic areas. This is of particular importance for assessing the risk of human infection and for evaluating the effect of control schemes, and could also assist in the development and parameterisation of mathematical models of transmission, which I also worked on during my PhD. My current work focusses on the issue of pathogen spread into new areas, which is an increasingly common problem due to global trade and travel, climate change, and land management issues (urbanisation, agricultural intensification etc…). I am looking into how to best apply different diagnostic tests and surveillance approaches in order to maximise the probability of detecting these invasive pathogens at an early stage (at which point control measures to remove them may still be effective). This requires the use of mathematical approaches to both better understand initial pathogen spread, and to simulate surveillance approaches in order to detect invasion early on. I am particularly interested in vector-borne pathogens, including Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (associated with citrus greening) and Xylella fastidiosa (associated with citrus variegated chlorosis and olive quick decline syndrome).

Qualifications and Memberships

Member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (2005-)

Member of the British Society for Parasitology (2014-)

Member of the John Snow Society (2008-)

Member of the Luxuriant Facial Hair Club for Scientists (2011-)

PhD in Parasite Ecology/Epidemiology, University of Salford (2015)

MSc, Veterinary Epidemiology, Royal Veterinary College (2009)

BVSc, University of Liverpool (2005)

BSc(hons) Veterinary Pathology, Royal Veterinary College (2003)

Publications

Alexander Mastin, Freya van Kesteren, Paul R. Torgerson, Iskender Ziadinov, Bermet Mytynova, Michael T. Rogan, Talgat Tursunov, Philip S. Craig. 2015. Risk factors for Echinococcus coproantigen positivity in dogs from the Alay valley, Kyrgyzstan. Journal of Helminthology 89(6):655-663. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0022149X15000590

Philip S. Craig, Alexander Mastin, Freya van Kesteren, Belgees Boufana. Echinococcus granulosus: epidemiology and state-of-the-art of diagnostics in animals. 2015. Veterinary Parasitology 213(3-4):132-148. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.vetpar.2015.07.028

Rebecca Rushworth, Belgees Boufana, Jessica Hall, Vincent Brannan, Alexander Mastin, Richard Birtles, Philip S. Craig, Michael T Rogan. Rodentolepis straminea in an urban population of Apodemus sylvaticus in the UK. 2015. Journal of Helminthology 1-7. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0022149X15000632

Freya van Kesterena, Xinwei Qi, Jiang Tao, Xiaohui Feng, Alexander Mastin, Philip S. Craig, Dominique A. Vuitton, Xinyu Duan, Xiangdong Chu, Jinlong Zhu and Wen Hao. 2015. Independent evaluation of a canine echinococcosis control programme in Hobukesar County, Xinjiang, China. Acta Tropica 1-7. doi: 10.1016/j.actatropica.2015.01.009 

Freya van Kesteren, Katarzyna J. Piggott, Tavares Bengui, Sirri B. Kubri, Alexander Mastin, Claudio Sillero-Zubiri, Monique Paris, Robert P. Millar, David W. Macdonald, Fekadu Shiferaw and Philip S. Craig. 2015. Helminth parasites in the endangered Ethiopian wolf, Canis simensis. Journal of Helminthology 89(4):487-495. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0022149X14000534

Freya van Kesteren, Alexander Mastin, Bermet Mytynova, Iskender Ziadinov, Belgees Boufana, Paul R Torgerson, Michael T Rogan, Philip S Craig. 2013. Dog ownership, dog behavior and transmission of Echinococcus spp in the Alay Valley, southern Kyrgyzstan. Parasitology 140(13):1674-1684. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0031182013001182

Pablo Alarcon, Martina Velasova, Alexander Mastin, Amanda Nevel, Katharina D.C. Stärk, Barbara Wieland. 2011. Farm level risk factors associated with severity of post-weaning multi-systemic wasting syndrome. Preventive Veterinary Medicine 101 (3-4) 182-191. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.prevetmed.2011.06.001

Alexander Mastin, Arjen Brouwer, Mark Fox, Philip Craig, Javier Guitián, WaiSan Li, Kim Stevens. 2011. Spatial and temporal investigation of Echinococcus granulosus coproantigen prevalence in farm dogs in South Powys, Wales. Veterinary Parasitology 178 (1-2) 100-107. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.vetpar.2010.11.049

Alexander Mastin, Pablo Alarcon, Dirk Pfeiffer, James Wood, Susanna Williamson, Ian Brown, COSI Consortium, and Barbara Wieland. 2011. Prevalence and risk factors for swine influenza virus infection in the English pig population. PLoS Currents: Influenza February 11; 3: RRN1209. http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/currents.RRN1209