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Nnomzie Charles Atama


Track: 7, Citizens and surveillance with focus on high schools



Prof. Dr. marion Koopmans


Dr. Reina Sikkema


Erasmus Medical Center

Description PhD project

My PhD is a part of the OHPACT project to map the complex vector-borne disease (VBD) ecosystem. It will specifically focus on monitoring the enzootic cycle of zoonotic arboviruses (VBD) in birds and other wildlife (such as rodents, ungulates and amphibians). Birds represent the most probable amplifying hosts of priority VBD. Therefore, as part of a surveillance system, dead and live birds will be tested for antibodies and/or target viruses using protein microarrays and multiplex PCRs protocols that are developed as part of the OHPACT project.  To set up an early warning system for incursion by emerging or re-emerging arboviruses, wild herbivores, bats, and rodents will be sampled to monitor the introduction and/or circulation of the VBD in the ecosystem. Data generated from wildlife surveillance will be incorporated into epidemiological and ecological (species) models to predict potential outbreaks of VBDs in the Netherlands and across Europe, while also serving as a public repository for future research and public health interventions.

Research questions / objectives

Yet to be determined

Tags matching with the contents of track 7


  • Labwork

    • PCR: PCR will be used for viral detection in live and dead birds sampled
    • ELISA: Serological monitoring of birds and wild mammals for circulation of VBD
    • RNA/DNA extraction: For extracting RNA/DNA for my PCRs
    • Virus neutralization: Used for serological detection in birds and wild mammals
    • Next generation sequencing (NGS): For comparison of phylogenetic relationship across strains of viral particles detected in wildlife to determine possibilities for introduction
    • Plaque Assay: For determining the infectivity and role of wild species as reservoirs or amplifying hosts
    • Living animal experiment: Pathogenicity of viruses in lab models will be conducted


    • Bird trapping/sampling/surveillance: As part of our surveillance plan for VBD in live and dead birds
    • Wildlife trapping/sampling/surveillance: Surveillance and monitoring plans


    • Epidemiological modelling: Data generated from bird and wild animal surveillance will be used in models to predict disease spread


    • Literature review: Working on a literature review of the wild animal hosts for VBD other than wild birds


  • Host

    • Host susceptibility: Part of our pathogenicity study
    • Host Seroprevalence: Part of my bird and wild mammal surveillance


  • Species:

    • Bird: Will be trapping birds and collecting dead birds for testing
    • Wild mammal: Wild mammals will be trapped for monitoring antibodies and antigen to VBD


  • Virus:

    • West Nile virus: One of my target viruses
    • Usutu Virus: One of my target viruses
    • Japanese Encephalitis Virus: One of my target viruses
    • Sindbis Virus: One of my target viruses