About

A/Prof Paul Horwood is an Associate Professor, Virology and Viral Diseases, in the College of Public Health, Medical and Veterinary Sciences, Townsville campus.

Paul’s research is focused on emerging tropical diseases in the Asia-Pacific region, including research into understanding the molecular epidemiology of tropical diseases and improving laboratory diagnostics. As a virologist with strong skills in molecular biology, bacteriology and public health, he has led multidisciplinary teams in challenging developing country settings in Papua New Guinea and Cambodia.

Paul conducts ‘One-Health’ research on the transmission of zoonotic diseases in high-risk interfaces where humans, domestic animals and wildlife interact. He also conducts research to better understand the wildlife and environmental reservoirs of important outbreak-prone diseases.

Paul previously worked for 3 years (2013-2016) at the Institut Pasteur in Cambodia as the Deputy-Head of Virology Unit. In this role, Paul was also the Director of the WHO H5 Reference Laboratory and National Influenza Centre. Paul continues research activities in Cambodia and Laos with projects focused on the emergence and persistence of avian influenza viruses in live bird markets and investigating the emergence of zoonotic pathogens from high-risk settings such as wildlife animal markets and areas undergoing rapid land-use change.

Paul worked at the Papua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research for 4 years (from 2010-2013) as a Principal Research Fellow. He established a successful research group, the Environmental and Emerging Diseases Unit, to investigate the epidemiology of outbreak-prone diseases. Paul’s research group investigated and described maiden outbreaks of chikungunya and cholera in Papua New Guinea. While in Papua New Guinea, Paul was Head of the WHO National Influenza Centre and also coordinated national surveillance for rotavirus.

Paul embraces cross-disciplinary research, using laboratory, clinical and social research tools to improve our understanding of important diseases in low-income settings. He has ongoing research activities in numerous tropical developing countries including Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Cambodia and Laos.

Current grants

Principal investigator: National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Ideas Grant: Understanding the establishment and persistence of community associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) in resource-limited. high burden settings: How can we reduce the burden of disease? (2022-2024)

Co-investigator: Wildlife Health Australia, National Avian Influenza Wild Bird Surveillance:  Monitoring of avian influenza in samples collected from aquatic birds in North Queensland (2021-2022)

Co-investigator: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Global Grand Challenges: Determining the ‘Environmental Typhoid Mary’, and Conditions that Favour Persistence (2019-2021)

Co-investigator: Woolworths Centre for Childhood Nutrition Research: Large-scale identification of maternal biomarkers indicative of infant risk for disease susceptibility (2019-2023)

Co-investigator: Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR): A one-health approach to establish surveillance strategies for Japanese encephalitis and zoonotic arboviruses in Papua New Guinea (2019-2021)

Co-investigator: Global Challenges Research Fund, UK Research and Innovation: CANARIES: Consortium of Animal market Networks to Assess Risks of emerging Infectious diseases through Enhanced Surveillance (2019-2020)

Co-investigator: COCKPI-T Grant, Takeda Pharmaceutical Company: SPECiFIC - Study of Pathobionts of Enterobacteriaceae in a Cohort Focusing on IBD-patients and Controls (2018-2020)

Associate investigator: Australian Government, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Stronger Systems for Health Security: Stronger Surveillance and Systems Support for Rapid Identification and Containment of Resurgent or Resistant Vector Borne Pathogens in Papua New Guinea (2019-2021)

Principal investigator: HOT NORTH pilot project grant, Menzies School of Health Research: Genomics for Undiagnosed Infectious Disease Evaluation and Diagnosis in Northern Australia (2017-2019)

Co-investigator: FNQ Hospitals Foundation: Influence of maternal pathogen infections in the composition of the infant gut microbiome and immune health (2018-2019)

Co-investigator: Vedanta Biosciences: The Gut Microbiota of Children in Papua New Guinea and Susceptibility to Gastrointestinal Infections (2017-2019)

Research group

PhD student: Kate Parrish

PhD student: God'spower Okoh

PhD student: Andrew Adamu

PhD student: Casey Toft

PhD student: Juciliane Haidamak

PhD student: Estefania Erazo Mera

MPhil student: Holly Dever

PhD student: Elisheba Malau (Federation University)

PhD student: Donald Tahani (Federation University)

Former students:

Annika Suttie (PhD), Huy Sreang Heng (PharmD), Sopheak Thet (PharmD), Jill-Lea Ramassamy (MPH), Deirdre Collins (MID), Marinjho Jonduo (Hons), Grace Bande (Hons), Monalisa Kas (Hons), Valentine Siba (Hons)

Teaching
  • MI3071: Molecular Analysis of Tropical Microbes (Level 3; TSV)
  • MI5071: Molecular Analysis of Tropical Microbes (Level 5; TSV)
  • TM5502: Tropical Public Health (Level 5; TSV)
  • TM5600: Introduction to One Health (Level 5; TSV)
  • TV2102: Integrated Animal Structure and Function 2 (Level 2; TSV)
  • TV3001: Transitions from Health to Disease 1 (Level 3; TSV)
Interests
Professional
  • Associate Editor, BMC Infectious Diseases (2019-current)
  • Associate Editor, Tropical Medicine and Infectious Disease (2020-current)
  • International Network Steering Committee, CANARIES (The Consortium of Animal market Networks to Assess Risk of emerging Infectious diseases through Enhanced Surveillance) (2019-current) https://www.canarieshmhp.org/
  • Member, National Avian Influenza Wild Bird Surveillance Program Steering Group, Wildlife Health Australia (2020-current)
Research
  • The molecular epidemiology of emerging infectious diseases
  • Zoonotic disease emergence
  • The influence of the human gut microbiota on infectious disease outcomes
  • Improving diagnostic methods for low income settings
Experience
  • 2021 to present - Associate Professor, College of Public Health, Medical and Veterinary Sciences (Townsville, Australia)
  • 2017 to present - Adjunct Senior Research Fellow, Federation University (Churchill, Australia)
  • 2019 to 2021 - Senior Lecturer, College of Public Health, Medical & Vet Sciences, James Cook University (Townsville, Australia)
  • 2017 to 2019 - Senior Research Fellow, Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine, James Cook University (Cairns, Australia)
  • 2013 to 2016 - Director, Cambodian WHO H5 Reference Laboratory and National Influenza Centre (Phnom Penh, Cambodia)
  • 2013 to 2016 - Deputy-Head of Virology Unit, Institut Pasteur in Cambodia (Phnom Penh, Cambodia)
  • 2010 to 2013 - Director, Papua New Guinean WHO National Influenza Centre (Goroka, Papua New Guinea)
  • 2010 to 2013 - Principal Research Fellow, Papua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research (Goroka, Papua New Guinea)
  • 2003 to 2010 - Biotechnologist, Queensland Primary Industries & Fisheries (Brisbane, Australia)
Research Disciplines
Socio-Economic Objectives
Honours
Awards
  • 2019 - Research Excellence Award Winner, Veterinary Science, James Cook University
  • 2018 - Australian Research Field Leader in Health & Medical Sciences - Epidemiology, The Australian
  • 2012 - Bursary Award, Wellcome Trust
  • 2010 - Travel Scholarship, Pfizer/Wyeth
Fellowships
  • 1999 to 2002 - Australian Postgraduate Awards
Memberships
  • 2020 - Higher Degree by Research (HDRES) Committee, James Cook University
  • 2019 - Research and Postgraduate Committee, Veterinary Discipline, James Cook University
  • 2019 - Veterinary Science Curriculum Review and Assessment Committee, James Cook University
  • 2018 - Centre for Tropical Bioinformatics and Molecular Biology, James Cook University
  • 2017 - Research Committee, College of Public Health, Medical and Veterinary Sciences, James Cook University
  • 2017 - Australian Institute of Tropical Health & Medicine
  • 2015 - WHO Consultancy, Informal Consultancy on Surveillance for Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) using the Global Influenza Surveillance and Response System (GISRS) Platform, Geneva, Switzerland
  • 2015 to 2016 - Advisory Board for Cambodian Veterinary Epidemiology Training (CAVET)
  • 2014 to 2016 - Cambodian National Advisory Committee for IHR/APSED
  • 2013 to 2016 - Cambodian Zoonotic Technical Working Group
  • 2012 to 2013 - Papua New Guinea Emerging Infectious Diseases and Health Emergencies Workplan Committee
  • 2012 to 2013 - Institutional Ethics Review Board (IRB), Papua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research
  • 2012 to 2013 - Safety and Security Committee, Papua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research
  • 2011 to 2013 - Papua New Guinea National Advisory Committee for APSED
Publications

These are the most recent publications associated with this author. To see a detailed profile of all publications stored at JCU, visit ResearchOnline@JCU. Hover over Altmetrics badges to see social impact.

Journal Articles
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ResearchOnline@JCU stores 104+ research outputs authored by A/Prof Paul Horwood from 2004 onwards.

Current Funding

Current and recent Research Funding to JCU is shown by funding source and project.

Tropical Australian Academic Health Centre Limited - Research Seed Grants

Using portable long-read sequencing to diagnose Chronic Kidney Disease in regional North QLD Using portable long-read sequencing to diagnose Chronic Kidney Disease in regional North Using portable long-read sequencing to diagnose Chronic Kidney Disease

Indicative Funding
$50,000 over 2 years
Summary
This project addresses the early diagnosis of genetic predispositions for Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD), which poses an increasing burden on the North Queensland population and unequally affects the Indigenous Australian peoples. We will develop a mobile diagnostic pipeline that allows a rapid and cost-efficient screening for genetic CKD predispositions and circulating biomarkers using a targeted, DNA/RNA long-read sequencing approach.
Investigators
Ulf Schmitz, Andrew Mallett, Matt Field, Paul Horwood, Helen Wright, Chirag Patel, Ira Cooke and Ben Lundie (College of Public Health, Medical & Vet Sciences, College of Medicine & Dentistry, College of Healthcare Sciences, Queensland Clinical Genetics Service and Pathology Queensland)
Keywords
long-read sequencing; Nanopore; Chronic Kidney Disease; Genetic Testing; targeted sequencing; transcriptomic complexity

National Health & Medical Research Council - Ideas Grants

The ecological and evolutionary factors influencing the establishment and persistence of community associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) in resourcelimited, high-burden settings

Indicative Funding
$603,908 over 3 years
Summary
Our preliminary data suggests that there is high circulation of methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) in the highlands of PNG. We propose a hospital- and community-based study to determine the ecological and evolutionary factors associated with the establishment of the highly virulent MRSA ST93 clone in the highlands of PNG. This study will provide vital information for clinicians, public health professionals and policy makers in PNG to guide treatment and interventions to reduce the impact of MRSA-associated AHO in the country. Indeed, these findings will also inform strategies for the treatment and prevention of MRSA-associated AHO in other resource-limited settings.
Investigators
Paul Horwood, Izzard Aglua, Andrew Greenhill, Simon Smith, Cadhla Firth, Eike Steinig and Celestina Aho (College of Public Health, Medical & Vet Sciences, Kundiawa General Hospital, Federation University Australia, Menzies School of Health Research and Institute of Medical Research (PNG))
Keywords
Staphylococcus Aureus; MRSA; Osteoarthritis; Papua New Guinea; Zoonosis; Genomics

CSIRO - Resilience to emerging infectious diseases

Strengthening the JCU-CSIRO Partnership with respect to emerging infectious diseases and biosecurity

Indicative Funding
$40,000 over 1 year
Summary
These funds will be used to strengthen the partnership between JCU and CSIRO to expand our collaborations on biosecurity in Northern Australia.
Investigators
Paul Horwood and Roslyn Hickson (College of Public Health and Medical & Vet Sciences)
Keywords
Biosecurity; Emerging Infectious Diseases; Zoonoses; Northern Australia

Australian Wildlife Society - University Student Grant

Investigating Herpesvirus Infections in Australian Wildlife

Indicative Funding
$1,500 over 2 years
Summary
Many Australian wildlife populations are considered vulnerable and are threatened by various infectious agents including herpesviruses (HV)s. In Australia, HVs have been identified in wild reptiles, birds and marsupials. However, some of these viruses have been poorly characterised and tehre is a paucity of epidemiological data, which has hampered possible control measures. Also, the lack of sensitive assays for viral surveillancec has led to under-reporting of novel and known HVs in Australia. Therefore, this research will investigate herpesvirus infections in Australian wildlife. Upon completion of this project, we will be able to ascertain the circulating HV species/strains and provide current epidemiological information that could improve managerial practice and strengthen curent conservation efforts in Australia.
Investigators
God'spower Okoh and Paul Horwood (College of Public Health and Medical & Vet Sciences)
Keywords
Herpesvirus infections; Australian wildlife; Freshwater Turtles; Wildbirds; Marsupials; Consensus PCR

Wildlife Health Australia - Research Grant

Monitoring of avian influenza in samples collected from aquatic birds in North Queensland

Indicative Funding
$24,776 over 2 years
Summary
At least 576 fresh faecal samples from wild ducks and magpie geese will be collected as environmental samples in the Townsville region. Swabs in transport media and immediately transported to the laboratory. Samples will be pooled and nucleic acid extracted. The extracted nucleic acid will be screened using assays based on TaqMan that will detect avian influenza. Pools that react will be individually extracted and tested. Avian influenza isolates will be checked using TaqMan specific for H5 and H7. Should the samples react in these assays it will be sent to AAHL for further testing and the CVO will be notified. Sequencing on all isolates other than those reacting in H5 and H7 will be carried out to determine genotype and to confirm pathotype.
Investigators
Graham Burgess and Paul Horwood (College of Public Health and Medical & Vet Sciences)
Keywords
RT?PCR; Molecular Biology; Viral Diseases; Influenza; Avian; Wildlife

CSIRO - Contract Research

Immunogenicity of Inovio SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine candidate in Ferrets.

Indicative Funding
$44,000
Summary
This project aims to characterise the immune responses following two doses of SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidates produced by Inovio Pharmaceuticals. The Inovio vaccine candidates are DNA-based vaccines (as opposed to RNA-based, such as the Pfizer vaccine; or viral vector-based, such as the AstraZeneca vaccine) and rely upon the injection of a circular DNA (plasmid) that, when it gets into a cell, tells the cell to produce a particular protein from SARS-CoV-2 (in this case the Spike protein, found on the surface of the virus particle). Completion of these studies will further support the Inovio vaccine candidate along its pathway to licensure for use in humans, in the context of emerging variants of concern, thus aiding in the testing of a vaccine that may be used to protect humans from SARS-CoV-2 infection in the future.
Investigators
Serrin Rowarth and Paul Horwood in collaboration with Socorro Miranda-Hernandez and Kay Robertson (Australian Institute of Tropical Health & Medicine, College of Public Health and Medical & Vet Sciences)
Keywords
Vaccine; Covid-19; SARS-CoV-2; Ferrets; DNA-based vaccine; Spike protein

Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research - Research Grant

A one health approach to establish surveillance strategies for Japanese encephalitis and zoonotic arboviruses in Papua New Guinea

Indicative Funding
$23,700 over 2 years (administered by CSIRO)
Summary
The project aim is to establish surveillance for JEV and other zoonotic arboviruses that affect the rural population of PNG. The major objectives are to: 1. Evaluate current detection methods to detect zoonotic arboviruses in the field and laboratory, and build capacity where gaps are identified. 2. Establish surveillance at selected sites using sentinel animal (pigs, chickens) and mosquito trapping 3. Develop linkages and coordination between human and animal health agencies. The primary outputs are to develop surveillance activities that contribute to early warning for public health and provide a better understanding of the ecological drivers of arboviruses in PNG.
Investigators
David Williams, Leanne Robinson, Paul Horwood, Stephan Karl and Dagmar Meyer Steiger (Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness, Burnet Insitute and Australian Institute of Tropical Health & Medicine)
Keywords
Japanese encephalitis virus; Arbovirus; Papua New Guinea; Mosquito; Vector; Zoonotic

Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation - Research Grant

Influence of maternal pathogen infections in the composition of the infant gut microbiome and immune health

Indicative Funding
$5,000 over 2 years
Summary
The aim of this project is to understand how pathogen infections modify maternal microbiome and shape bacterial colonization in children. The influence of the microbiome on immune system maturation in infants directly impacts on pathogen susceptibility and persistence.
Investigators
Severine Navarro, Paul Horwood and Andrew Greenhill (Australian Institute of Tropical Health & Medicine and Federation University Australia)
Keywords
Microbiome; Infant; Breastmilk; Pathogens; Hookworm; Health
Supervision

Advisory Accreditation: I can be on your Advisory Panel as a Primary or Secondary Advisor.

These Higher Degree Research projects are either current or by students who have completed their studies within the past 5 years at JCU. Linked titles show theses available within ResearchOnline@JCU.

Current
  • Identification and influence of intestinal parasites in the gut microbiome of mothers and infants from Papua New Guinea. (PhD , Secondary Advisor/AM)
  • Development of a Universal Rapid Diagnostic Test for Influenza A, B and SARS-COV-2 (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Studies of Bellinger River Virus (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • A serological survey of canine herpesvirus and associated risk factors in the dog population of North Queensland. (Masters , Secondary Advisor)
  • Investigating Herpesvirus Infection in Australian wildlife (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • The Threat of Feral Pigs as a Reservoir of Disease in North Queensland (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • Saving a cryptic tropical species: combining spatial and reproductive sciences to determine the future of the endangered pygmy hippopotamus (Choeropsis liberiensis) (PhD , Primary Advisor)
Collaboration

The map shows research collaborations by institution from the past 7 years.
Note: Map points are indicative of the countries or states that institutions are associated with.

  • 5+ collaborations
  • 4 collaborations
  • 3 collaborations
  • 2 collaborations
  • 1 collaboration
  • Indicates the Tropics (Torrid Zone)

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