Dr Laith Yakob
BSc MSc DPhil
I am an ecologist with particular interest in the role of migration on vector populations and on infectious disease dynamics. In terms of human movement, excellent data exist for informing connectivity between many populations and these can be capitalised upon to inform epidemiology. For example, we recently showed that the Zika epidemic likely spread across Latin/Central America following the road networks, not through air travel as previously believed. For zoonoses, migration data quality is more variable (generally better for livestock than wild animals) introducing greater uncertainty in the role of movement in disease transmission. For example, we showed that the potential for an outbreak of zoonotic knowlesi malaria in southeast Asia is critically dependent on how often macaque hosts enter human villages – a behaviour for which data are scant but burgeoning thanks to macaque-tracking drones. At the bottom of the spectrum, is knowledge of vector dispersal. Tracking vector movement is so difficult that many fundamental questions about them remain: How far does a mosquito fly? How big is a mosquito population? How influential is vector dispersal in infection spread? Questions like these drive much of my research focus.
I am Deputy Course Director for the MSc in Medical Parasitology and in Medical Entomology for Disease Control (MEDiC).
I am one of the founding eight core members of the UK Public Health Rapid Support Team, who support countries responding to and controlling disease outbreaks before they can develop into a global threat. I am also a founding member of the Antimicrobial Resistance Centre at LSHTM, where I act as the disciplinary head for Epidemiology and Modelling.
ACTIVE RESEARCH PROJECTS:
Early warning systems for dengue outbreaks in SE Asia and Australia
NHMRC (PI Wenbiao Hu; Co-Is: Yakob, Devine, Tu).
New vectors, new diseases: the risk of chikungunya transmission in Australia
NHMRC (PI Francesca Frentiu; Co-Is: Hu, Devine, Yakob, McGraw).
ZIKAPLAN: Zika Preparedness Latin American Network
ERC-funded Consortium (PI Annelise Wilder-Smith; large network of Co-Is including Yakob).
Mosquito biting behaviour and arboviral transmission: interactions between intrinsic host preferences and local environmental conditions
MRC (PI Yakob; Co-I Walker).
ZIKA: surveillance, risk factors and vector management in Brazil
MRC/Newton/Wellcome Trust (PI Yakob; Co-Is: Brasil, Cameron, Edmunds, Funk, Lines, Logan, Rodrigues, Rowland, Walker).