Dr Darren Shaw (BSc, PhD, FRSB)

Reader in Comparative Epidemiology


I graduated from Sheffield University in 1990 with a BSc in Zoology and Genetics, and completed my PhD in 1994 at the Zoology Department, Cambridge University on the distribution of macroparasites in naturally fluctuating populations. I spent 3½ years at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Gent, Belgium and 18 months at the Centre for Research into the Epidemiology of Disasters at the Université Catholique de Louvain, Brussels, Belgium. In 2000 moved up to Edinburgh University’s Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies. In 2004 I took up a position in Veterinary Clinical Epidemiology and am now a Reader in Comparative Epidemiology.





Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), University of Cambridge Distribution of macroparasites in naturally-fluctuating host populations

Bachelor of Science, Zoology and Genetics, University of Sheffield

Responsibilities & affiliations

UG teaching staff


Director of PostGraduate Taught (PGT) programmes

R(D)SVS & The Roslin Institute


Exam Board Convenor - Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine (DVetMed)

Exam Board Convenor - MVetSci Conservation Medicine

Other administrative duties:

PhD Examinations – external examiner:

  • December 2013: Rob Critchlow “Ecological patterns and predictors of parasite sharing among domestic and wild mammals” (University of Glasgow)
  • June 2015: Hannah Lester “Anthelmintic resistance in equine parasites: an epidemiological approach to build a framework for sustainable parasite control” (University of Liverpool)

PhD Examinations – internal examiner:

  • September 2008: Darryn Knobel “Aspects of dog ownership and canine rabies control in Africa and Asia”
  • August 2015: Jessica Flood “Foot-and-mouth disease epidemiology in relation to the physical, social and demographic farming landscape”
  • March 2016: Geoffrey Mainda “Molecular epidemiology of antimicrobial (AMR) and Shiga toxin producing Escherichia coli (STEC) in dairy herds of central Zambia”

Undergraduate teaching

Year 3

Student Research Component

Year 4

Student Research Component

Year 5

Final Year Rotations

Student Research Component

Postgraduate teaching

MSc Conservation Medicine

Applied Epidemiology and Surveillance for Conservation Medicine

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Current PhD students supervised

Cassandra McGregor Moredun / R(D)SVS, University of Edinburgh –  “To develop, refine and exploit cutting edge molecular genetics tools for the identification of livestock helminths and the detection ofanthelmintic resistance”. Current (part time) - started 2019.

Heather Bacon, Jeanne Marchig International  Centre for Animal Welfare Education, R(D)SVS, University of Edinburgh –  “Assessing the effectiveness of cross-cultural animal welfare educational interventions incorporating a novel multimedia educational tool”. Current (part time) - started 2012.

Past PhD students supervised

Principal Supervisor (PhD)

Anna Meredith, R(D)SVS, University of Edinburgh – “Evaluation of carnivores and scavengers as sentinels for new and emerging diseases”. Awarded 2012.

Samantha Ellis, Moredun / R(D)SVS, University of Edinburgh - “Interactions of Teladorsagia circumcincta with the ovine immune system – mimicry and vaccine development”. Awarded 2014.

Claire McArthur, Moredun / R(D)SVS, University of Edinburgh - “Development of tools to detect the sensitivity of cattle nematodes to anthelmintics”. Awarded 2015.

Charlotte Clarke, Institute of Zoology & University of Edinburgh – “Investigating the host-parasite dynamics of a novel amphibian Dermocystid disease in an isolated population of palmate newts in the UK”. NERC Case Studentship. Awarded 2017.

Juliet Duncan,  R(D)SVS, University of Edinburgh – “Veterinary and medical undergraduate attitudes to pain in animals and non-verbal humans”. Awarded 2020.

Co-supervisor (PhD)

Paul Bessell, R(D)SVS, University of Edinburgh – “The spatial epidemiology of Foot and Mouth Disease in Great Britain”. Awarded 2008.

Kate Snedeker, Medical Statistics, University of Edinburgh –  “Analysing Escherichia coli O157 outbreaks in Scotland, Canada and the United States of America”. Awarded 2008.

Gabriela Peniche, R(D)SVS, University of Edinburgh –  “Raptor health as an indicator of ecosystem health: development of novel surveillance tools for conservation”. Awarded 2021.

Co-supervisor (MSc)

Kim Lee Tan, R(D)SVS, University of Edinburgh – “Patterns of sizes of outbreaks of human infection caused by Campylobacter, Escherichia coli 0157 and Salmonella in England and Wales”. Awarded 2000.

Claire Wylie, University of Wales, Aberystwyth – “Can the geographical distribution of cases of equine grass sickness be explained by the distribution of various soil factors?”. Awarded 2008.

Alessandro Seguino, R(D)SVS, University of Edinburgh – “Epidemiological study of Campylobacter spp. colonisation of wild game pheasants (Phasianus colchicus) processed in Approved Game Handling Establishments in Scotland and its relevance to public health” Awarded 2016.

Avril Dewar, Medical Education, University of Edinburgh – “Training and testing a model to predict medical undergraduate finals outcomes”. Awarded 2000.

Research summary

Comparative epidemiology of parasitic and infectious diseases and general aspects of animal health.

Current research interests

I am principally interested in the comparative epidemiology of parasitic and infectious diseases as part a long standing interest in analysing patterns of disease as well as general population dynamics. These diseases include wildlife disease (parasitic infections of wildlife, zoonoses and the role of carnivores as sentinels for disease, Dermocystid infections in palmate newts, Leprosy in red squirrels), and diseases of veterinary and medical importance (TB, FMD, influenza Camplyobacter, Escherichia coli, mastitis, production animal gastrointestinal infections). I also work closely with clinical colleagues on various aspects of animal health (e.g. equine grass sickness, recovery from surgery and cardiology, bovine energy inbalance, feline cardiology and neurology). Outwith disease I collaborate with medical colleagues looking at the relationship between sun exposure and lifespan, and am part of an adhoc multicentre project looking at how geology and genetics can inform each other with regard to understanding the geological and evolutionary changes on SE Asia islands. I also collaborate with colleagues who are using mixed method approaches to study perceptions of pain in animals and non-verbal patients by veterinary and medical students, and perceptions of animal welfare in zoo staff in Europe and China.

View all 199 publications on Research Explorer