Dr. Alexander Mastin
School of Science, Engineering and Environment
Research Fellow in Ecological/Epidemiological Simulation Modelling
I originally studied veterinary science at the University of Liverpool, taking one year out to complete a Wellcome Trust-funded intercalated degree in veterinary pathology at the Royal Veterinary College. This piqued my interest in a research career, but following graduation in 2005, I decided to give veterinary medicine a chance and joined a small animal veterinary practice in south Manchester. Although I learned a lot over the two years I spent in clinical practice, this experience convinced me that research was for me. I applied to study veterinary epidemiology on a master’s degree course run jointly by the Royal Veterinary College and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and was granted a Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council scholarship to study on this course.
Following this, I remained at the Royal Veterinary College, working as a research assistant to Professor Dirk Pfeiffer. During this time, my work was largely focussed on animal viruses which have the potential to infect people (such as influenza viruses), and on the effects of biosecurity practices on reducing disease in cattle farms. As well as gaining experience in veterinary epidemiology, my time being mentored by Professor Pfeiffer instilled in me a sense of the importance of working across different research fields. Inspired by this (and driven by a longstanding fascination with tapeworms), I moved to the University of Salford to study for a PhD in parasite ecology with Professor Philip Craig – one of the foremost global authorities on Echinococcus tapeworms.
These tapeworms are zoonotic (i.e. they can spread from their normal animal hosts, such as dogs, to humans), and my PhD investigated how best to monitor and evaluate echinococcosis control schemes in China and the Central Asian country of Kyrgyzstan using diagnostic tests developed here at the University of Salford. Following on from the completion of my PhD, I was given the opportunity to reaffirm my commitment to bridging research disciplines when I made the transition into botanical epidemiology, and I began work as a postdoctoral research fellow under Dr Stephen Parnell. My research since then has been focussed on improving early detection surveillance methods for invasive plant pathogens, which are an increasing problem worldwide
Areas of research
Epidemiology, Disease ecology, Surveillance, Mathematical modelling, Statistical modelling
I currently teach statistics and simulation modelling to undergraduate and postgraduate students, and am always happy to offer informal statistical and modelling assistance to students and researchers.
I am an infectious disease epidemiologist with particular experience in the mathematical and statistical modelling of pathogens and parasites of humans, animals, and plants.
My current research uses these models to examine and evaluate how best to conduct surveillance for these organisms: whether to declare absence, detect new incursions early, learn more about an emerging epidemic, or monitor the performance of control efforts.
I am also interested in how plant health, animal health, and human health interact, and how epidemiological research within these disciplines can be unified.
- 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)
- Member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (2005-)
- Member of the John Snow Society (2008-)
- Member of the Luxuriant Facial Hair Club for Scientists (2011-)