Deborah Hoyle


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Personal profile

Current Research Interests

Molecular epidemiology of zoonotic and emerging pathogens, surveillance and disease control.

Research Interests

I am interested in the epidemiology of zoonotic veterinary pathogens, antimicrobial resistance and emerging disease. My current research project investigates the molecular epidemiology of Shiga-toxin positive non-O157 enterohaemorrhagic Escherichia coli on cattle farms throughout the UK, using genome sequencing technology to examine the relationship between bovine and human clinical isolates.

Non-O157 Shiga toxin positive Escherichia coli are increasingly found as the primary pathogen in human outbreaks of severe haemorrhagic colitis and haemolytic uraemic syndrome throughout Europe and the US. We are studying the prevalence of the top four clinically significant non-O157 toxigenic E. coli serogroups in the UK herd (O26, O103, O111 and O145) and aim to identify how bovine strains fit into existing human non-O157 phylogenetic clusters, by examining potential common lineages and evolutionary pathways.

This data will provide information on the current potential public health risk of animal-derived non-O157 E. coli and will help inform future vaccine development.


I graduated from the University of Cambridge with BA (Hons) Pathology in 1991 and Vet MB, MRCVS in 1994. I then spent a year at the University of Oxford studying the epidemiology of human infectious disease, before working for a short period in mixed clinical practice. In 1996, I moved to the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Medicine, Edinburgh, to study for a doctorate, investigating the early immune response to Fasciola hepatica infection in cattle (2000). Following this, I joined Professor Mark Woolhouse’s group, initially on a quarantine surveillance project, examining the risk of zoonotic disease importation by pets into the UK. I then spent four years as a post-doctoral researcher studying the molecular epidemiology of antimicrobial resistant commensal and pathogenic Escherichia coli in beef cattle. From 2005-2015, I took a ten year career break to raise a family. I have since returned to research with a Wellcome Trust Career Re-entry Fellowship (2015-2019), examining the epidemiology of Shiga toxin positive non-O157 E.coli on farms throughout the UK. I am interested in infectious disease epidemiology, surveillance and control.

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), University of Edinburgh

Award Date: 1 Jan 2000

Master of Arts, University of Cambridge

Award Date: 1 Jan 1995

Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine (Cambridge), University of Cambridge

5 May 19915 May 1994

Award Date: 1 Jan 1994

Bachelor of Arts, University of Cambridge

Award Date: 1 Jan 1991


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