Alison Peel



BSc(Vet) BVSc MSc PhD



Queensland Government Accelerate Early Career Postdoctoral Research Fellow


Contact details

Environmental Futures Research Institute

Griffith University, Nathan campus

Sir Samuel Griffith Centre (N78) 2.23

170 Kessels Rd, Nathan

QLD 4111, Australia



Email: alisonpeel"at"; a.peel"at"

Tel (W): +61 7 3735 9256


Twitter: @ali_bat




I am a wildlife disease ecologist with an interest in the dynamics and drivers of infectious disease, particularly in bats. Coming from a veterinary background, it was the interesting viruses that brought me to bats, but I'm increasingly fascinated by the ecology of the bats themselves and the complex interactions between broad environmental and climatic changes, ecology and disease.

My current research recognises the complexity of multi-host-multi-pathogen communities. I'm interested in how Hendra virus, the most widely studied bat virus in Australia, exists within a diverse community of viruses in Australian flying-foxes. By examining this well know bat viral system in a broader context, I hope to provide insight into both Hendra virus dynamics and bat virus spillover in general.



My MSc was based at the Royal Veterinary College and Institute of Zoology, London, and involved a research project on the risk of importing amphibian chytridiomycosis into the UK. I completed my PhD at the University of Cambridge in 2012, and investigated the population genetics and epidemiology of henipaviruses and lyssaviruses in African fruit bats. I've been based in Australia again since 2013 and am investigating Hendra- and other virus dynamics in Australian flying foxes through a Queensland Government Accelerate Early Career Research Fellowship.






































Current Research


"Bridging the gaps in Hendra virus research"

In partnership with Biosecurity Queensland and CSIRO Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL).


In Australia, the most widely studied bat virus is the paramyxovirus Hendra virus (HeV), yet a diverse community of viruses has been detected in Australian flying-foxes.  We are utilising a novel high-throughput multiplex PCR to simultaneously detect up to nine known bat paramyxoviruses in individual urine samples from four Australian flying-fox species and will interpret results in the context of a novel reservoir framework, reconsidering HeV as part of a multi-host-multi-virus community. Ultimately, I aim to understand the drivers of virus transmission in bat populations so as to better predict and prevent fatal spillover of viruses into human populations. 


"Dynamics of Humans, Bats, And Pathogens"

In collaboration with A/Prof Raina Plowright , Dr Peggy Eby, Hamish McCallum and the bat1health team,

including PhD students Tamika Lunn, Maureen Kessler, and Devin Jones

Broadly, we are researching the interactions between land use change, flying fox ecology, Hendra virus dynamics and spillover into horses. We were recently awarded a US National Science Foundation grant to study this coupled natural and human system over the next 4 years. The NSF-funded project is built around hypotheses that ongoing loss of small patches of winter-flowering habitat needed to sustain bat migration has led to increased numbers of bats moving into towns and cities in eastern Australia. We believe that chronic and acute food shortages are affecting bat health and feeding habits, ultimately leading to increased spillover risk to horses. We hope to dig into these hypotheses in more depth, and ultimately aim to commence a long-term habitat restoration project to reverse some of these trends.


"Daily increments of teeth formation in bats: Microscopic mapping of nutritional stress, secrets of longevity and links to viral dynamics"

In collaboration with A. Prof Tanya Smith

Answers to fundamental questions in flying fox ecology may lie in existing technologies in human developmental research. We are applying the latest technology for assessing human nutritional history in teeth to increase the accuracy of ageing and provide the first objective measure of nutritional history in bats. We seek to validate these methods in bats to provide major benefits to research at the interface of conservation and public health.​




  • Past

    • 2014-2018: PhD: Jaewoon Jeong: "Modelling viral infectious diseases of bats in Australia"

    • 2014-2017: PhD: John Giles: "Determining the role of flying fox population dynamics in the emergence of Hendra virus in Australia"

    • 2016-2017: Kungullanji Indigenous Summer Research Student: Summer Coffison. "Investigating the influence of vegetation in and surrounding roost sites for Pteropus spp."

    • 2014: Biology undergraduate project, Griffith University: Ariane Rizzoli Moreno. "Systematic Quantitative Literature Review on Australian bat Lyssavirus" 

    • 2009-2010: Problem-based learning facilitator for MSc in Wild Animal Health, ZSL and Royal Veterinary College. Topic: Threat of emerging diseases to conservation

    • 2009-2010: Final year veterinary undergraduate research student: Alex Torrance. "An investigation into the haematological and biochemical ranges in the straw-coloured fruit bat". University of Cambridge, UK.

    • 2008-2009: Masters in Wild Animal Health student: Melissa Nollet. "Population structure and effective population size of the straw-coloured fruit bat (Eidolon helvum) at Kasanka National Park, Zambia)". Zoological Society of London and Royal Veterinary College, London, UK.



  • Education and Training 

    • 2008 – 2012: PhD, University of Cambridge 

    • 2006 – 2007: MSc - Masters in Wild Animal Health, Royal Veterinary College, London 

    • 1998 – 2003: BVSc - Bachelor of Veterinary Science, University of Sydney 

    • 2001: BSc (Vet) - Bachelor of Science (Veterinary), University of Sydney 

  • Previous academic positions

    • 2013 - 2014: Postdoctoral research fellow, Griffith University. "Models to predict Hendra virus prevalence in fruit bat populations". Funded by the Australian government Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation.

    • 2012: Postdoctoral research fellow, Disease Dynamics Unit, University of Cambridge, UK, “Zoonotic Viral Emergence from fruit bats: Viral persistence in isolated island systems”. Theoretical exploration of the effect of seasonal birth pulses on viral persistence in wildlife populations, particularly in respect to critical community sizes








  • Sokolow, S.H., Nova, N., Pepin, K.M., Peel, A.J., Pulliam, J.R.C., Manlove, K., Cross, P.C., Becker, D.J., Plowright, R.K., McCallum, H., De Leo, G.A. (2019) Ecological interventions to prevent and manage zoonotic pathogen spillover. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B - Biological Sciences. 374: 20180342.

  • Lunn, T.J., Restif, O., Peel, A.J., Munster, V.J., de Wit, E., Sokolow, S., van Doremalen, N., Hudson, P., McCallum, H. (2019) Dose –response and transmission: the nexus between reservoir hosts, environment and recipient hosts. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B - Biological Sciences. 374: 20190016

  • Glennon, E.E., Becker, D.J., Peel, A.J., Garnier, R., Suu-Ire R.D., Gibson, L., Hayman, D.T.S., Wood, J.L.N., Cunningham, A.A., Plowright, R.K., and Restif, O. (2019) What is stirring in the reservoir? Modelling mechanisms of henipavirus circulation in fruit bat hosts. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B - Biological Sciences. 374: 20190021

  • Brook, C.E., Ranaivoson, H.C., Broder, C.C., Cunningham, A.A., Héraud, J.M., Peel, A.J., Gibson, L., Wood, J.L., Metcalf, C.J. & Dobson, A.P., 2019. Disentangling serology to elucidate henipa- and filovirus transmission in Madagascar fruit bats. Journal of Animal Ecology.

  • Stephenson, E. B., Murphy, A. K., Jansen, C. C., Peel, A. J., & McCallum, H. (2019). Interpreting mosquito feeding patterns in Australia through an ecological lens: an analysis of blood meal studies. Parasites & Vectors, 12(1), 156.


  • Martin, L. B., Addison, B., Bean, A. G. D., Buchanan, K. L., Crino, O. L., Eastwood, J. R., Flies, A. S., Hamede, R., Hill, G. E., Klaassen, M., Koch, R. E., Martens, J. M., Napolitano, C., Narayan, E. J., Peacock, L., Peel, A. J., Peters, A., Raven, N., Risely, A., Roast, M. J., Rollins, L. A., Ruiz-Aravena, M., Selechnik, D., Stokes, H. S., Ujvari, B., Grogan, L. F. (2018) Extreme competence: keystone hosts of infections. Trends in Ecology and Evolution (IF 15.938) Online early (link).

  • Kessler, M. K., Becker, D. J., Peel, A. J., Justice, N. V., Lunn, T., Crowley, D. E., Jones, D.N., Eby, P., Sánchez, C.A., Plowright, R.K. (2018). Changing resource landscapes and spillover of henipaviruses. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 112, 91. (link)

  • Giles, J. R., Peel, A. J., Wells, K., Plowright, R. K., McCallum, H., & Restif, O. (2018, August 28). Optimizing non-invasive sampling of an infectious bat virus. bioRxiv. (link) 

  • Peel, A. J., Baker, K. S., Hayman, D. T. S., Broder, C. C., Cunningham, A. A., Fooks, A. R., Garnier, R., Wood, J. L. N., and Restif, O.  (2018). Support for viral persistence in bats from age-specific serology and models of maternal immunity. Scientific Reports, 8(1), e0004796.  (link)

  • Giles, J.R., Eby, P., Parry, H., Peel, A.J., Plowright, R.K., Westcott, D.A. & McCallum, H. (2018) Environmental drivers of spatiotemporal foraging intensity in fruit bats and implications for Hendra virus ecology. Scientific Reports, 8: 9555 (link)

  • Stephenson, E. B., Peel, A. J., Reid, S. A., Jansen, C. C., & McCallum, H. (2018). The non-human reservoirs of Ross River virus: a systematic review of the evidence. Parasites & Vectors, 11(1), 188. (link)

  • Glennon, E. E., Restif, O., Sbarbaro, S. R., Garnier, R., Cunningham, A. A., Suu-Ire, R. D., Osei-Amponsah R, Wood, J. L. N. and Peel, A. J. (2018). Domesticated animals as hosts of henipaviruses and filoviruses: A systematic review. The Veterinary Journal, 233, 25–34. (link)


  • Paez, D.J., Giles, J., McCallum, H., Field, H.E., Jordan, D., Peel, A.J. & Plowright, R.K. (2017) Conditions affecting the timing and magnitude of Hendra virus shedding across pteropodid bat populations in Australia. Epidemiology and Infection, 57, 1–11. (link)

  • Hardy, M.C., Desselle, M.R.Catch a Rising Star Consortium (including Peel, A.J.). (2017) Engaging rural Australian communities in National Science Week helps increase visibility for women researchers. Royal Society Open Science, 4, 170548. (link)

  • Jeong, J., Smith, C.S., Peel, A.J., Plowright, R.K., Kerlin, D.H., McBroom, J., McCallum, H. (2017) Persistent infections support maintenance of a coronavirus in a population of Australian bats (Myotis macropus). Epidemiol Infect. 2017 Jul;145(10):2053-2061. (link)

  • Peel, A.J., Wood, J.L.N., Baker, K.S., Breed, A.C., de Carvalho, A., Fernández Loras, A., Gabrieli, H.S., Gembu, G.-C., Kakengi, V.A., Kaliba, P.M., Kityo, R., Lembo, T., Mba, F.E., Ramos, D., Rodriguez-Prieto, I., Suu-Ire, R., Cunningham, A.A. & Hayman, D.T.S. (2017) How does Africa’s most hunted bat vary across the continent? Population traits of the straw-coloured fruit bat (Eidolon helvum) and its interactions with humans. Acta Chiropterologica, 19 (1), 77–92. (link)


  • Giles, J. R., R. K. Plowright, P. Eby, A. J. Peel, and H. McCallum. 2016. Models of Eucalypt phenology predict bat population flux. Ecology and evolution. doi:10.1002/ece3.2382 (link)

  • Plowright, R. K., A. J. Peel, D. G. Streicker, A. Gilbert, H. McCallum, J. L. N. Wood, M. L. Baker, and O. Restif. 2016. Transmission or within-host dynamics driving pulses of zoonotic viruses in reservoir-host populations. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases 10: e0004796. (link )

  • Peel, A. J., K. S. Baker, D. T. S. Hayman, R. Suu-Ire, A. C. Breed, G.-C. Gembu, T. Lembo, A. Fernández Loras, D. R. Sargan, A. R. Fooks, A. A. Cunningham, and J. L. N. Wood. 2016. Bat trait, genetic and pathogen data from large-scale investigations of African fruit bats, Eidolon helvum. Scientific Data 3: 160049. (link, with associated data available from the Dryad Digital Repository)

  • Hayman, D. T. S., and A. J. Peel. 2016. Can survival analyses detect hunting pressure in a highly connected species? Lessons from straw-coloured fruit bats. 9 pp. Biological Conservation 200: 131–139. (link)

  • Peel, A. J., H. E. Field, P. A. Reid, R. K. Plowright, C. C. Broder, L. F. Skerratt, D. T. S. Hayman, O. Restif, M. Taylor, G. Martin, G. Crameri, I. Smith, M. Baker, G. A. Marsh, J. A. Barr, A. C. Breed, J. L. N. Wood, N. Dhand, J.-A. Toribio, A. A. Cunningham, I. Fulton, W. L. Bryden, C. Secombe, and L.-F. Wang. (2016). The equine Hendra virus vaccine remains a highly effective preventative measure against infection in horses and humans. A response to Zahoor and Mudie. Infection ecology & epidemiology.  6: 31658 (link)


  • Peel, AJ, Pulliam, JRC, Luis, AD, Plowright, RK, O’Shea, TJ, Hayman, DTS, Wood, JLN, Webb, CT, Restif, O. The effect of seasonal birth pulses on pathogen persistence in wild mammal populations. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. (IF 5.683, ranked 8/83 in Biology)

  • Horton, DL, Banyard, A, Marston, DA, Wise, E, Selden, D, Nunez, A, Hicks, D, Lembo, T, Cleaveland, S, Peel, AJ, Kuzmin, IV, Rupprecht, CE, Fooks, AR. Antigenic and genetic characterisation of a divergent African virus, Ikoma lyssavirus. Journal of General Virology, (IF 3.127, ranked 16/59 in Virology)

  • O’Shea, TJ, Cryan, PM, Cunningham, AA, Fooks, AR, Hayman, DTS, Luis, AD, Peel, AJ, Plowright, RK, Wood, JLN. Bat flight and emerging zoonotic viruses. Emerging Infectious Diseases. (IF 5.993, ranked 4/69 in Infectious Disease)



  • Peel, AJ, Sargan, DR, Baker, KS, Hayman, DTS, Barr, JA, Crameri, G, Suu-Ire, R, Broder, CC, Lembo, T, Wang, LF, Fooks, AR, Rossiter, SJ, Wood, JLN/Cunningham, AA. Continent-wide panmixia of an African fruit bat facilitates widespread seroprevalence to potentially-zoonotic viruses. Nature Communications 4: 2770. (IF 10.015, ranked 3/56 in Multidisciplinary Sciences)

  • Peel, AJ, McKinley, TJ, Baker, KS, Barr, JA, Crameri, G, Hayman, DTS, Feng, YR, Broder, C.C, Wang, LF, Cunningham, AA, Wood, JLN. (2013) Use of cross-reactive serological assays for detecting novel pathogens in wildlife: assessing an appropriate cutoff for henipavirus assays in African bats. Journal of Virological Methods, 193: 295–303. (C:3, IF: 1.90, ranked 21/59 in Virology)

  • Baker, KS, Marsh, GA, Todd, S, Crameri, G, Barr, J, Kamins, AO, Peel, AJ, Yu, M, Hayman, DTS, Nagjm, B, Mtove, G, Amos, B, Reyburn, H, Nyarko, EO, Suu-Ire, R, Murcia, PR, Cunningham, AA, Wood, JLN & Wang, LF. Novel zoonotic paramyxoviruses from the African straw-coloured fruit bat, Eidolon helvum. Journal of Virology, 87: 1348-1358. (C:8, IF 5.076, ranked 6/59 in Virology)

  • Gilbert, AT, Fooks, AR, Hayman, DTS, Horton, DL, Müller, T. Plowright, R, Peel, AJ, Bowen, R, Wood, JLN, Mills, J, Cunningham, AA, and Rupprecht, CE. Deciphering Serology to Understand the Ecology of Infectious Diseases in Wildlife. EcoHealth, 10: 298–313. (C:2, IF 2.196)



  • Peel, AJ, Baker, KS, Crameri, G, Barr, JA, Hayman, DTS, Wright, E, Broder, CC, Fernández-Loras, A, Fooks, AR, Wang, LF, Cunningham, AA, Wood, JLN. Henipavirus Neutralising Antibodies in an Isolated Island Population of African Fruit Bats. PLoS ONE, 7, e30346. (C:16, IF 3.73)

  • Peel, AJ, Hartley, M, Cunningham, AA. Qualitative risk analysis of introducing Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis to the United Kingdom through the importation of live amphibians. Diseases of Aquatic Organisms, 98: 95–112. (IF 1.734)

  • Wood, JLN, Leach, M, Waldman, L, MacGregor, H, Fooks, AR, Jones, K, Restif, O, Dechmann, D, Hayman, DTS, Baker, KS, Peel, AJ, Kamins, AO, Fahr, J, Ntiamoa-Baidu, Y, Suu-Ire, R, Breiman, RF, Epstein, JH, Field, HE & Cunningham, AA. A framework for the study of zoonotic disease emergence and its drivers: spillover of bat pathogens as a case study. Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London Series B, Biological sciences. 367: 2881-92. (C: 18, IF 6.230)

  • Hayman, DTS, Bowen, R, Cryan, P, McCracken, G, O'Shea, T, Peel, AJ, Turmelle, A, Webb, C, Wood, JLN. Ecology of zoonotic infectious diseases in bats: current knowledge and future directions. Zoonoses and Public Health, 60: 2-21. (C: 9, IF 2.086, 11/143 in Veterinary Sciences)

  • Ossa, G, Kramer-Schadt, S, Peel, AJ, Scharf, A, Voigt, CC. The movement ecology of the straw-colored fruit bat, Eidolon helvum, in sub-Saharan Africa assessed by stable isotopes. PLoS ONE. 7 (9): e45729. (C:7, IF 3.73)

  • Billeter, SA, Hayman, DTS, Peel, AJ, Baker, K, Wood, JLN, Cunningham, AA, Suu-Ire, R, Dittmar, K & Kosoy, MY.  Bartonella species in bat flies (Diptera: Nycteribiidae) from western Africa. Parasitology, 139: 324–329. (C: 7, IF 2.355, 14/35 in Parasitology)



  • Peel, AJ, Rossiter, SJ, Wood, JLN, Cunningham, AA, Sargan, DR. Characterization of microsatellite loci in the straw-colored fruit bat, Eidolon helvum (Pteropodidae). Conservation Genetic Resources 2: 279-282. (C:3, IF 0.708)



  • Peel, AJ, Bouts, T, Flach, E, Rivers, S, and Routh, A. Pituitary Pars Intermedia Dysfunction (Equine Cushing's Disease) in an Onager (Equus hemionus onager). Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine 40 (4): 773-780. (IF 0.427, 100/142 in Veterinary Sciences)



  • Peel, AJ, Vogelnest, L, Finnigan, M, Grossfeldt, L, O’Brien, J. Non-Invasive Fecal Hormone Analysis and Behavioral Observations for Monitoring Stress Responses in Captive Western Lowland Gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla). Zoo Biology 24(5): 431-445. (C: 13, IF 1.136, 57/143 in Veterinary Sciences)

© 2015 by Griffith Wildlife Disease Ecology Group