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Epidemiology Research Unit

Inverness staff

The Inverness-based Epidemiology Research Unit is focused on improving and maintaining animal population health by integrating a range of sciences to develop our understanding of animal disease control. We also engage in research into animal diseases that can affect humans (zoonoses).

The team is recognised for its expertise in animal disease surveillance; the conduct of extensive field studies investigating the epidemiology of infectious diseases; and addressing large-scale, intensely data-driven problems in population health of terrestrial and aquatic species.

We are currently engaged in a range of studies to help provide an evidence base to all stakeholders involved with the livestock and aquaculture industries. We also focus on the coupling of social sciences, including animal health economics, to population medicine to explore the drivers and barriers to uptake of emerging new disease control measures.

Examples of our current areas of research include:

  • Evaluating and improving animal disease surveillance systems
  • Participating in the Scottish Government’s Centre of Expertise on Animal Disease Outbreaks (EPIC), which focuses on reducing the impact of animal disease outbreaks
  • Measuring and monitoring disease to enhance livestock health
  • Providing administrative and analytical support for Scottish and GB pig health schemes
  • Assessing the prevalence of and risk factors for gill disease on Scottish salmon, and evaluating interventions to reduce its impact
  • Providing research base and consultancy to support UK cattle health schemes
  • Investigating the epidemiology of ticks and Lyme disease in Scotland
  • The antimicrobial prescribing patterns of veterinary and medical practitioners - The study aims to explore antimicrobial (AM) prescribing intentions of vets for livestock and GPs in rural areas and to examine promoters and barriers to optimal AM prescribing.  Rural Fellows will gather data from the practice in which they are placed and a veterinary practice for that area, both of which face similar challenges in relation to rurality. 
    The study is being carried out by Rural Fellows, supported by the Remote and Rural Fellowship Co-ordinator, Dr Gillian Clarke, and the SRUC Epidemiology Research Unit led by Prof George Gunn.
    The study will identify commonalities and divergence between the factors that influence prescribing intentions, specifically in the local and rural context, and will investigate the scope for mutual learning on antibiotic stewardship and best practice.  Findings from this multi-disciplinary study will make a unique and important contribution to the development of integrated strategies for AMR reduction.

Our research is supported by the Scottish Government, DEFRA, BBSRC, AHDB, Quality Meat Scotland, Food Standards Scotland, the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre, NHS, and the European Space Agency among others. Aside from research the team is involved in consultancy at regional, national and international level and regularly host meetings, workshops and conferences.

Further Information

Please see the list of Animal Health Projects & Resources provided by the SRUC Epidemiology Research Unit.

Prof George Gunn

Team Leader/Head of Veterinary Epidemiology

Address: Future Farming Systems
Epidemiology Research Unit
Plot 10, An Lòchran
Inverness Campus

Telephone: 01463 246066

Fax: 01463 236579