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

Postdoc: Dr Elisheba Malau

PhD student: Frida Sparaciari

PhD student: Alex Adikwu

PhD student: Rebecca Vinit

PhD student: Kate Parrish

PhD student: Andrew Adamu

PhD student: Casey Toft

PhD student: Juciliane Haidamak

PhD student: Estefania Erazo Mera

PhD student: Donald Tahani (Federation University)

Masters student: Robyn Pearce

Former students:

God'spower Okoh (PhD), Elisheba Malau (PhD), 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)

  • 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)
  • 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)
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 1999 to 2002 - Australian Postgraduate Awards
  • 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 - Australian Institute of Tropical Health & Medicine
  • 2017 - Research Committee, College of Public Health, Medical and Veterinary Sciences, James Cook University
  • 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

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

ResearchOnline@JCU stores 125+ 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.

CSIRO - Infectious Disease Resilience Mission

Improving capacity for emerging infectious diseases research and surveillance in the Indo-Pacific

Indicative Funding
$300,000 over 3 years
Through this initiative, a One-Health approach will be used to improve emerging infectious diseases research and surveillance in a selected country in the Indo-Pacific, thereby improving national and regional biosecurity. In collaboration with an identified regional partner, a Research Fellow will be recruited to be embedded in the partner organisation to progress a co-designed research agenda, and help develop local capacity.
Paul Horwood and Roslyn Hickson (College of Public Health and Medical & Vet Sciences)
Biosecurity; Emerging infectious diseases; Zoonoses; Indo-Pacific region; Cambodia

CSIRO - Resilience to emerging infectious diseases

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

Indicative Funding
$88,840 over 4 years
These funds will be used to strengthen the partnership between JCU and CSIRO to expand our collaborations on biosecurity in Northern Australia.
Paul Horwood and Roslyn Hickson (College of Public Health and Medical & Vet Sciences)
Biosecurity; Emerging Infectious Diseases; Zoonoses; Northern Australia

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
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.
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)
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
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.
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))
Staphylococcus Aureus; MRSA; Osteoarthritis; Papua New Guinea; Zoonosis; Genomics

Wildlife Health Australia - Research Grant

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

Indicative Funding
$37,164 over 3 years
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.
Graham Burgess and Paul Horwood (College of Public Health and Medical & Vet Sciences)
RT?PCR; Molecular Biology; Viral Diseases; Influenza; Avian; Wildlife

Australian Wildlife Society - University Student Grant

Investigating Herpesvirus Infections in Australian Wildlife

Indicative Funding
$1,500 over 2 years
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.
God'spower Okoh and Paul Horwood (College of Public Health and Medical & Vet Sciences)
Herpesvirus infections; Australian wildlife; Freshwater Turtles; Wildbirds; Marsupials; Consensus PCR

CSIRO - Contract Research

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

Indicative Funding
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.
Serrin Rowarth and Paul Horwood in collaboration with Socorro Miranda-Hernandez and Kylie Robertson (Australian Institute of Tropical Health & Medicine, College of Public Health and Medical & Vet Sciences)
Vaccine; Covid-19; SARS-CoV-2; Ferrets; DNA-based vaccine; Spike protein

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.

  • Identification and influence of intestinal parasites in the gut microbiome of mothers and infants from Papua New Guinea. (PhD , Secondary Advisor/AM)
  • Effect of alternative Vector Control Strategies on Vector Ecology in Papua New Guinea (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • 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)
  • Development of a Framework for determining Zoonotic emerging Infectipous Disease risk profiles at Traditional Food Markets as a method for implementing long-term Risk Mitigation measures and improved Self-governance (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • The Threat of Feral Pigs as a Reservoir of Zoonotic Diseases 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)
  • Sero-epidemiological study of emerging and re-emerging Transboundary Zoonotic Pathogens in Nigeria-Sahel borders (PhD , Advisor Mentor)
  • Molecular and Metagenomic techniques to investigate the role of Bat Flies (Family Nycteribiidae) as Viral Vectors (Masters , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)

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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