KoalaThe chief investigators of this project are Dr Joerg Henning and Dr Rachel Allavena. Viviana Gonzalez Astudillo is working as a PhD student on this project.

Dr Henning is a Veterinary epidemiologist with over 15 years of research experience in epidemiology and biostatistics with a focus on spatial analysis and mapping of wildlife and livestock data. He has also extensive research experience in animal health issues in developing countries, in addition to working as a consultant for international organisations in Asia and Africa. His main research areas included zoonotic diseases, such as the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza H5N1, infectious diseases of village chickens, zoonotic diseases of sheep and goats and the spatial analysis of health, wildlife and production data. His findings have been published in well-known international journals. Dr Henning holds a Veterinary degree and a diploma in Veterinary Epidemiology, Statistics and Farm Management from the Free University in Berlin, Germany. He conducted his PhD studies at the EpiCentre at Massey University in Palmerston North, New Zealand. Following his doctorate studies he worked as Senior Research Fellow in Veterinary Epidemiology at the School of Veterinary Science, The University of Queensland (UQ), Brisbane, Australia and as a free-lancing Veterinary Epidemiology consultant in Germany. Dr Henning is a member of the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists in Veterinary Epidemiology. He is fluent in German and English, with knowledge of Russian and Kiswahili, and has been a Senior Lecturer in Veterinary Epidemiology at the School of Veterinary Science at the University of Queensland since 2012.

Dr Allavena is a board-certified Veterinary Anatomic Pathologist with the American College of Veterinary Pathologists and a registered specialist veterinary anatomic pathologist with the Veterinary Surgeon’s Board of Queensland. She is a Senior Lecturer in pathology and toxicology and specialist pathologist at The University of Queensland, School of Veterinary Science. As a specialist, she has overseen cases for the Queensland Police, RSPCA Queensland and Racing Queensland. Additionally, Dr Allavena is on the college examinations committee of the pathobiology chapter of ANZCVS. Dr. Allavena obtained a Bachelor of Veterinary Biology and Bachelor of Veterinary Science from UQ, a graduate diploma in Anatomic Pathology at the University of Guelph, and a PhD in Comparative Medicine from Cornell University. Her professional interests include diagnostic pathology, undergraduate and post-graduate student training in pathology, animal model development, and investigative pathology. Dr Allavena’s primary research interests include the pathology and causes of mortality of Queensland koalas and the development of novel immunotherapeutics for the treatment of cancer in dogs.

Viviana Gonzalez Astudillo is a Colombian researcher with a profound interest in the issues arising from the anthropogenic pressure posed to ecosystems and wildlife worldwide. She obtained her Veterinary Medicine degree at Universidad de La Salle in Colombia, pursued her master’s degree in Wildlife Ecology and Management at the University of Georgia in the United States, and was a research fellow in both the Robert Koch Institut, Germany, in molecular biology and at Universidad del Valle, Colombia, in urban pathogens carried by peridomestic fauna. Viviana’s interest in Wildlife Health and Conservation were fuelled during her veterinary studies by volunteering and carrying out projects at the Wildlife Conservation Society, diverse zoological collections, and the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease study in the United States. Her current career focuses include: disease ecology in urban and semi-urban environments; epidemiology and epizootiology of pathogens of interest for public health; conservation of wildlife species, and Science Illustration. Viviana has also trained undergraduate and graduate students in clinical pathology and pathology diagnostic techniques in wildlife in both the United States and Australia, in addition to the coordinating collaborative efforts between professionals in academic and private institutions in the United States and Colombia, with the ultimate goal of increasing academic interchange between both countries. During her veterinary studies and master’s Viviana has received several awards and grants to fund her research projects and studies. Viviana is fluent in Spanish and English, with knowledge of Portuguese.