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University of Exeter Medical School

 Kayleigh Hansford

Kayleigh Hansford

PhD student



I am a vector-borne disease scientist at Public Health England specialising in identifying newly emerging tick-borne disease threats to UK public health. I am also a part-time PhD student at the University of Exeter Medical School. My experience of medical entomology and hard work ethic are helping drive forward PHEs program of work on vector-borne diseases. With access to training at UEMS and with the help of my supervisors, I hope to build on my existing skills to complete my PhD studies.

Any free time I have outside of work/PhD studies is spent with my family and friends, walking my dog, riding my motorbike or working towards a black belt in kickboxing.


  • 2009 BSc Microbiology (1st class honours)

  • 2014 MSc Global Health & Infectious Diseases (Distinction)

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Research interests

I am interested the effect our changing environment might have on ticks or the pathogens they transmit, and how this might impact upon the risk posed by tick-borne disease to UK public health. Some of the changes that appear to be occurring include recent evidence that ticks may present a risk to public health in urban green space. With urban green space being so important for health and wellbeing and the development and use of such spaces being encouraged, it is important for us to also understand potential detrimental impacts and this is the focus of my PhD.

PhD title: Tick-borne disease in urban areas: impacts of ticks on human health and wellbeing and potential risk management strategies

Supervisors: Dr Ben Wheeler (UEMS), Dr Jolyon Medlock (PHE) & Dr Sahran Higgins (UEMS)

Funding: This is a collaborative and jointly funded PhD project between Public Health England’s Medical Entomology & Zoonoses Ecology team and the University of Exeter Medical School. This project is also affiliated to the NIHR Health Protection Research Unit in Environmental Change and Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in partnership with PHE, and in collaboration with the University of Exeter, University College London, and the Met Office.

My latest publications can be found here:

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External Engagement and Impact

  • Employed full-time as a vector-borne disease scientist at Public Health England

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