Dr Thomas Crellen
Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellow
I am a research fellow at the Big Data Institute (BDI) within the Nuffield Department of Medicine and funded by the Wellcome Trust. As an infectious disease epidemiologist, my interests are the transmission, evolution and control of pathogens and parasites.
Currently my research focusses on liver fluke (Opisthorchis viverrini), a neglected carcinogenic parasite which affects millions of people across South East Asia. Ongoing efforts to control liver fluke, which is contracted from eating raw fish, have involved health education and case treatment. However it is uncertain if these efforts are sufficient to eliminate the parasite. This project will apply modern statistical methods to diagnostic data collected in Thailand and Laos to improve our understanding of treatment efficacy and re-infection rates. Parasites in different locations will be sequenced to generate whole-genomes, which provides insight into how infected fish move between regions and whether cats and dogs harbour the same liver flukes as humans. These findings will be incorporated into a model which can be used by policy makers to test the impact of disease control measures, including large scale treatment with a deworming drug. Key partners for this work are Khon Kaen University in Thailand, the Wellcome Sanger Institute, and Professor Deidre Hollingsworth at the BDI.
Previously I worked at the Mahidol-Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit (MORU) in Thailand, with a focus on the transmission of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in hospital setting. In 2017 I was based in the Central African Republic as a field epidemiologist for the humanitarian organisation Médecins Sans Frontières. My PhD was awarded by Imperial College London, which investigated whether drug resistance was emerging in blood flukes (Schistosoma mansoni). I also hold degrees from the University of Cambridge and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.