Dr Conall Watson

Research Degree Student
Conall.Watson [at] lshtm.ac.uk

Conall is currently an acting consultant in health protection and global public health at Public Health England, with both frontline UK commitments and contribution to PHE's programme to strengthen public health surveillance-response systems in partner countries and regions, in support of the International Health Regulations.

His MRC-funded doctoral research at LSHTM was on the epidemiology and modelling of typhoid as a basis for vaccine programme decisions. I have also been working with the World Health Organization on vaccination against Ebola, including epidemiological needs assessment and a novel ring vaccination trial, and continue this collaboration into priority emerging disease threats as a member of the WHO R&D Blueprint working group on vaccine trial designs for epidemics.

Before joining the School, he was based at the UK national infectious disease surveillance centre in Colindale, including disease surveillance preparedness for mass gatherings, and worked at the Department of Health immunisation policy branch.

After qualifying as a pharmacist from the University of Nottingham and Bart’s & London hospital trust, Conall did his clinical residency at Guy’s & St Thomas’ Hospitals, specialising in strategic medicines management. He then moved into NHS public health specialty training, working in health service commissioning, local government health improvement programmes and communicable disease control.

His doctoral research was on the design of vaccination programmes and other interventions for the control of typhoid fever, particularly in the Pacific region, such as through school-based immunisation or child and adult vaccination campaigns.

In 2013, he did six months of fieldwork in Fiji in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, WHO Western Pacific, University of Queensland (UQ), other health partners and many volunteers who generously gave their time and blood samples. This cross-sectional, population-representative survey assessed exposure to Salmonella Typhi infection through the study of immune system antibodies. This, alongside data on social mixing, has been used to construct a transmission dynamic model to inform disease control policy.

The serum survey has also been used for investigation of leptospirosis, led by Colleen Lau of ANU, and as a serum bank for dengue fever (collected shortly before a large-scale outbreak of dengue-3), zika and other arbovirus research with Adam Kuscharski (LSHTM) and Pacific partners.

He has also developed a strong research interest in Ebola and other emerging infectious diseases, in responsing to the tragic events in West Africa. He is currently collaborating on a vaccine field study, electronic data capture, epidemiological research and transmission dynamic modelling.