Veterinary Tropical Diseases and Food Biosecurity Group


Our group conducts research in Veterinary Tropical Diseases and Food Biosecurity. We are a multidisciplinary, multiinstitutional and multinational group with unique expertise in tropical veterinary science, epidemiology, microbiology and public health and are ideally positioned to work in tropical regions of the world.

Facilitates used @ JCU –All our research is conducted in tropical regions of the world and a large portion of this is in developing countries. Supporting this research are the modern microbiology laboratories housed within the Discipline of Veterinary Science.

Research and Development

Our group has successfully been engaged in biosecurity issues in the pacific Island region and Southern Africa and have developed syndromic surveillance platforms in Papua New Guinea and Zambia. Using expertise in social networking and market chain analysis, food security platforms have been mapped out in Fiji, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea and Zambia. In Africa we have looked at issues related to the effect of global warming on vector movement in subtropical regions and sociological factors that play a role in disease surveillance. We have also been studying the role native and non-native rodents in the wet tropical rainforests of Northern Queensland play as reservoirs of disease for human and domestic animals.

The group is also currently working on an industry funded project on the environmental persistence of Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis in Northern Queensland. It is the cause of Johne’s disease in cattle, sheep and goats. This disease presents a threat to the export of live cattle from this region.

Another focal area of research for our group has been the study of tropical diseases of horses which has become of increasing importance with the emergence of viral equine diseases of public health importance. The role horse’s play in the epidemiology of these diseases has not been well studied. We have equine projects running in Australia and South Africa.

Industry Engagement

Our projects are usually run in partnership with government veterinary services of the host countries, other academic institutions or private veterinarians Imbedded into some of these projects have been training workshops to build capacity in animal health and disease surveillance.

Staff/ HDR students –research team

— The core JCU staff include: Prof. Bruce Gummow (Specialist Epidemiologist), Dr. Rachel Tan (Specialist in Equine Medicine) , Dr. Jackie Picard (Veterinary Bacteriologist), Dr Graham Burgess (Veterinary Virologist), Dr Leo Foyle (Veterinary Public Health); Dr. Con Constantin (Veterinary Parasitologist), Dr Robert Hedlefs (Cattle Medicine) and Dr. Glenn Kennelly (Herd Health)

In addition we have 3 PhD and 3 Masters Students servicing the group and co-workers in all the countries mentioned.

Contact: Professor Bruce Gummow, Discipline of Veterinary Science, JCU. E-mail:; Tel: 47814071