Investigation of Carnivore Protoparvovirus 1 (parvoviruses) in Australian Felids


The aims of this project are to determine why feline panleukopenia virus, a strain of Carnivore Protoparvovirus 1 has re-emerged as a significant pathogen in Australian cats, and whether dog-adapated strains of Carnivore Protoparvovirus 1 (CPV 2-a, 2-b and 2-c) are also involved. In addition, the role of viral co-pathogens in clinical disease will be investigated.


Professor Vanessa Barrs, Professor Julia Beatty

Research Location

Sydney School of Veterinary Science

Program Type



Feline panleukopenia virus (FPV), a strain of Carnivore Protoparvovirus 1 re-emerged in Australia between 2014 and 2017 in Melbourne and Sydney, to cause severe disease outbreaks resulting in the deaths of hundreds of cats. Reasons for the re-emergence are not clear. In cats the clinical syndrome of feline panleukopenia can be caused by infection with FPV, or with dog-adapated strains of Protoparvovirus 1, known as canine parvovirus (CPV) 2a-2c. We have established that the outbreaks were caused by FPV.             The aim of this project is to use molecular phylogenetics to study the evolution of FPVs in Australia, which will give insights into how the disease has re-emerged. FPV and CPV-like viruses can jump species between felid and canid carnivores, and the role of feral carnivores (cats, dogs and foxes) as viral reservoirs of disease will be explored. A metagenomics approach will be used to obtain whole genomes of FPV and CPV viruses infecting cats in Australia, and to characterize viral co-pathogens which may only be pathogenic in the setting of concurrent parvoviral infection.             The successful applicant will work with a vibrant group of clinical, molecular and bioinformatics specialists, at the University of Sydney in the School of Veterinary Science.

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: 2258

Other opportunities with Professor Vanessa Barrs

Other opportunities with Professor Julia Beatty