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Professor Sarah Cleaveland, OBE

Veterinary surgeon and Professor of Comparative Epidemiology, University of Glasgow

Professor Sarah Cleaveland

Professor Sarah Cleaveland obtained a Bachelor of Science from the University of Southampton in 1983 and a degree in veterinary medicine from the University of Cambridge in 1988 followed by a PhD from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine in 1996 for research on canine distemper and rabies in the Serengeti of Tanzania.

At university Sarah was a member of the University of Cambridge’s Women’s Boat Club and rowed in the 1985 boat race. She subsequently worked at the Centre for Tropical Veterinary Medicine, The University of Edinburgh, before moving on to the University of Glasgow in 2008 where she is a professor at the Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine and a member of the Boyd Orr Centre for Population and Ecosystem Health.

A large part of her research has focused on the epidemiology of zoonotic diseases in northern Tanzania, including rabies. Her work has involved the initiation of mass rabies vaccination programmes for domestic dogs in the Serengeti, which has not only indirectly prevented hundreds of human deaths, but also protected wildlife species such as the endangered African wild dog.

Her research has been funded by several funding agencies, including the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the Medical Research Council (MRC), the Wellcome Trust and Department for International Development.

She was a founding director of the Alliance for Rabies Control.

Sarah was the first woman to be awarded the British Veterinary Association Trevor Blackburn Award in 2008 in recognition of her work on animal and human infectious diseases in Africa. She was a founding director of the Alliance for Rabies Control, whose mission is to prevent human deaths caused by infection with the rabies virus and reduce the burden of this disease in animals. She was elected a Fellow of The Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2012, elected to the National Academy of Medicine in October 2015, and elected a Fellow of The Royal Society in April 2016. She was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2014 Birthday Honours for services to veterinary epidemiology.