Investigation of Carnivore Protoparvovirus 1 (parvoviruses) in Australian Canids


The aims of this project are to investigate the evolution of canine parvovirus in Australia, including the prevalence of the CPV-2 variants among infected dogs and to investigate the prevalence of vaccine-resistant CPV strains in dogs with clinical disease. In addition, this project will determine whether viral co-pathogens influence the severity of clinical disease in parvovirus infected dogs.


Professor Vanessa Barrs, Professor Julia Beatty

Research Location

Sydney School of Veterinary Science

Program Type



Carnivore Protoparvovirus 1 is a small DNA virus that has dog and cat adapted strains, known as canine parvovirus (CPV) and feline panleukopenia virus (FPV). FPV can infect cats, but not dogs. CPV emerged as a new disease in dogs in the late 1970s and caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of dogs around the world. Within a year, a new CPV variant evolved that could infect and cause disease in both dogs and cats. In 1980 an estimated 66 000 Australian dogs developed severe illness from CPV infection. Today, despite the availability of vaccines, CPV remains a common infectious disease in Australian dogs with an estimated 15 000 new cases each year.  A new variant, CPV-2c, circulating in Europe since 2000, was only detected in Australia in 2017. The evolution and genetic diversity of CPV in Australia is not known, and will be investigated in this project. Surveillance of parvoviral variants needs to be urgently performed in Australia to monitor for the emergence of vaccine-resistant strains. This project will also involve viral discovery to investigate enteric viral co-pathogens and will involve training in a large number of skills including molecular methods (Sanger sequencing, long range PCR, genome walking and next generations sequencing), bioinformatics, cell-culture, and other techniques.

Additional Information

 The successful applicant must apply for and be awarded a scholarship  RTP Scholarships. Full-time award holders receive a stipend of $27,082 (2018 Rate) which is currently exempt from taxation.For International applicants you can apply for the RTP scholarship which covers a stipend and tuition fees. AusAID scholarships are also available for eligible students. Students must have a scholarship which covers full tuition fees and a living allowance. The successful candidate will have an undergraduate degree in science, veterinary science or equivalent, research experience, strong motivation and excellent communication skills.

Want to find out more?

Contact us to find out what’s involved in applying for a PhD. Domestic students and International students

Contact Research Expert to find out more about participating in this opportunity.

Browse for other opportunities within the Sydney School of Veterinary Science .


molecular biology, Parasites, Bioinformatics, zoonosis, infectious, spatial modelling

Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is: 2257

Other opportunities with Professor Vanessa Barrs

Other opportunities with Professor Julia Beatty