Charles Sturt University
Charles Sturt University

Dr David Jenkins

Dr David Jenkins

BSc-London MSc-London PhD-Melb

David has had a long research interest in taeniid infestations in macropods, particularly Echinococcus granulosus, and joined CSU in 2008 to further his research activities in the CSU veterinary parasitology group. David is an Adjunct Associate Professor at the School of Medicine, Australian National University (ANU), a part-time lecturer in parasitology at both the University of Sydney and ANU, visiting Research Fellow, School of Botany and Zoology, ANU.


Dr Jenkins joined the School of Agriculture and Veterinary Science, Charles Sturt University in March 2008 as a senior lecturer in parasitology.

David was born in England but has strong family connections with Australia (Queensland) going back several generations. He obtained his PhD from the University of Melbourne with a study on the immunodiagnosis of tapeworm infections in dogs. David also has an MSc in immunology and a joint Hons BSc in Botany and Zoology from the University of London and has spent periods up to several years working on parasite projects overseas (Indonesia, Kenya, China, India).

For 18 years prior to arriving at CSU David ran a private parasite research laboratory in Canberra. The laboratory focused on studies into the epidemiology, control and immunodiagnosis of hydatid disease (Echinococcus granulosus) in domestic animals, wildlife and humans. These studies were interspersed with part-time teaching commitments at ANU and the University of Sydney.

David is an active researcher, supervises postgraduate students and undertakes consultancies for clients mainly from the veterinary pharmaceutical industry. He publishes regularly in the scientific and non-scientific press (topics include epidemiology of hydatid disease, immunodiagnosis of hydatid tapeworm infection in domestic and wild canids, use of livestock guarding animals, dingo biology/genetics) and is regularly consulted by the popular press on topics including wild canid control and parasite transmission issues.

David will maintain his part-time teaching associations with

  • Australian National University where he is an Adjunct Associate Professor in the School of Medicine and a Visiting Research Fellow in the School of Botany and Zoology.
  • University of Sydney where he is an Honorary Research Associate in the School of Veterinary Science.

In addition, David will maintain close collaborative research links (including co-supervision of PhD students) with

  • University of Melbourne (Veterinary Clinical Centre) Associate Professor Marshall Lightowlers, studies on the application of the EG95 vaccine for sheep against hydatid disease.
  • University of New South Wales (School of Biotechnology and Biotechnical Science) Dr Allan Wilton, studies on dingo/domestic dog hybridization.
  • University of Salford, UK (School of Biology and Life Sciences) Professor Philip Craig, studies on diagnosing hydatid tapeworm infection in wild and domestic canids, through the detection of tapeworm antigens in faeces.
  • Australian National University (The Fenner School for Environment and Society) Professor Brendan Mackey, Ms Renne Visser (PhD student)) /James Cook University of Northern Queensland (Prof Chris Johnson/Ms Linda van Bommel (PhD student)/ National Parks and Wildlife Service of NSW (Environment NSW) (Drs Andrew Claridge and Douglas Mills) and Victoria (Department Environment and Conservation) (Dr Alan Robley), studies on dingo biology and the use of livestock guarding animals.
  • University of Sydney (School of Veterinary Studies) Associate Professor Peter Windsor, Ms Jess King (PhD student)/ University of Technology, Sydney (Department of Medical and Molecular Biosciences/Institute for Biotechnology of Infectious Diseases) Professor John Ellis/ NSW Department of Agriculture (Dr Peter Fleming), studies on the epidemiology of Neospora caninum (a causative agent for abortion in cattle).

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Research Interests

My main research interests revolve around prevalence of hydatid tapeworm infection in rural dogs and influence of wildlife reservoirs. I am also involved in the immuno-detection of hydatid tapeworm infection in wild and domestic canids through detection of hydatid tapeworm antigens in faeces (you may never meet the infected dingo or fox, but you know they are around).

A more tangential research interest is in the biology of wild dogs (dingoes and dingo/domestic dog hybrids) and livestock guarding dogs (LGD), particularly their movement patterns. In the case of the LGD and dingoes we are looking at their movements but also if their presence affects the behaviour of foxes, and feral cats. The movement studies are producing important data with implications for endangered species conservation and wild dogs control whilst also being useful in elucidating transmission patterns for hydatid disease between domestic and wild animals.

In addition, I am also involved in research into elucidating the transmission pattern of Neospora caninum, a recently identified parasite causing mid to late term abortion in cattle.

Currently, I am co-supervising PhD students working on the interaction of dingoes with foxes and feral cats, the role of wildlife in the transmission of Neospora caninum and the movements/behaviour of maremmas (LGD) in large open range environments. My own on-going research is conducting a major survey of hydatid tapeworm infection in rural domestic dogs of SE Australia in collaboration with Novartis Animal Health and the Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation.

Opportunities exist for Honours and PhD students (subject to available funding) to undertake studies in the areas referred to above.

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Recent graduates from my lab

My latest graduating PhD student was Tamsin Barnes who graduated in November 2007. Her PhD was entitled 'Hydatid Infection in Macropods'. Her study comprised a good balance of field work, experimental animal studies and laboratory work and identified a major threatening process contributing to the decline of the brush-tailed rock wallaby in Australia.

The field work included trapping, collecting blood and faeces and X-raying (in the field) wild brush-tailed rock wallabies for pulmonary hydatidosis. Up to 30% of the animals X-rayed, in some populations, were found to be infected. The blood and faeces were examined for other parasites, the bloods also subjected to biochemical examination.

The efficacy of a vaccine (EG95) that protects sheep against hydatid disease was tested in captive Tammar wallabies and found to be effective in also protecting macropodids against hydatid disease.
Tamsin found hydatid infection developed 2-3 times more quickly in macropodids, compared to sheep. She also demonstrated contrasting cellular responses to infection between macropodids and sheep. The study demonstrated hydatid disease progresses more aggressively in macropods (leading to debilitation and death) than in sheep, and was likely to be, a hitherto unrealised, major threatening process in wild populations of brush-tailed rock wallabies.

Once all her manuscripts have been accepted, Tamsin will have published 8 papers arising from her PhD in addition to presenting 6 papers and one poster at scientific meetings during her studies. Dr Barnes is now undertaking a 3 year post doctoral project researching respiratory diseases in feed-lot cattle through the School of Veterinary Studies at the University of Queensland.

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  • Boufano B, Campos-Ponse M, Naidich A, Buishi I, Lahma S, Jenkins DJ, Combes B, Wen H, Xiao, Ito A, Qiu J Craig PS Evaluation of three PCRs for the identification of sheep strain (G1) of Echinococcus granulosus in canid faeces and parasite tissues. Am J Trop Med Hyg (in press)
  • Chow C., Gauci C., Vural G., Jenkins D.J., Heath D.D., Rosenzvit M.C.,Harandi M.F., Lightowlers? M.W. (2008) Variability of the host-protective EG95 vaccine antigen in G6 and G7 genotype variants. Experimental Parasitology (in press)
  • Jenkins D.J., Allen L., Goullet M. (2008) Encroachment of Echinococcus granulosus into urban areas of eastern Queensland. Australian Veterinary Journal (in press).
  • Barnes T.S, Hinds L.A, Jenkins D.J, Coleman G.T. (2007)? Precocious development of hydatid cysts in a macropod host. International Journal for Parasitology 37: 1379-1389..
  • Smith N.C., Tilley L., Thompson R.C.A., Ryan U.M., Loukas A., Jenkins D. Mc Fadden G. I. (2006) An Australian network to support the understanding and control of parasites. Trends in Parasitology 22; 97-99.
  • Jenkins D.J., McKinlay A., He D. Bradshaw H. and Craig P.S. (2006) Detection of Echinococcus granulosus coproantigens in faeces from naturally infected rural domestic dogs in south eastern Australia. Australian Veterinary Journal 84; 12-16.
  • Jenkins D.J. (2006) Echinococcus granulosus in Australia, widespread and doing well! Parasitology International 35; 733-740.
  • Jenkins D.J., Romig, T., Thompson, R.C.A. (2005) Emergence/re-emergence of Echinococcus spp.- a global update. International Journal for Parasitology 35; 1205-1219.
  • Charles S.D., Altreuther G., Reinemeyer C.R., Buch J., Settje T., Cruthers L., Kok D.J., Bowman D.D., Kazakos K.R., Jenkins D.J., Schein E. (2005) Evaluation of the efficacy of emodepside + praziquantel topical solution against cestode (Dipylidium caninum, Taenia taeniaeformis, and Echinococcus multilocularis) infection in cats. Parasitology Research 97; S33-S40.
  • Jenkins D.J. (2005) Hydatid control in Australia: where it began, what we have achieved and where to from here. International Journal for Parasitology 35; 733-740
  • Jenkins D.J., Murray A. J., Claridge A. W., Story G. L., Bradshaw H. and Craig P. S. (2005) The contribution of spotted-tailed quolls in the transmission of Echinococcus granulosus in the Byadbo Wilderness Area of the Kosciuszko National Park, Australia. Wildlife Research 32; 37-41.
  • Colebrook A., L., Jenkins D. J., Jones M. K., Tararczuch L. T. and Lightowlers M. W. (2004) Effect of Cyclosporin A on the survival and ultrastructure of Echinococcus granulosus protoscoleces in vitro. Parasitology 129: 497-504.
  • Jenkins D. J. (2004) Cystic echinococcosis in Australia: the current situation. Southeast Asian Journal of Tropical Medicine and Public Health 35 (Supplement 1), 183-188.
  • Jenkins D. J. (2004) The burden and impact of echinococcosis/hydatidosis in Australia. In ??? Assessing the burden of Taenia solium cysticercus and echinococcosis??? Editors Willingham L H and Schantz P Veterinary Parasitology 125: 183-202.
  • Elayoubi F. A., Fraser A., Jenkins D. J. and Craig P. S. (2003) Partial characterisation of carbon-rich Echinococcus granulosus coproantigens. International Journal for Parasitology 33; 1553-1559.
  • Jenkins D.J. and MacPherson C. N. L (2003) Transmission ecology of Echinococcus granulosus in wildlife in Australia and Africa. Parasitology127; S63-S72.
  • Jenkins D. J. and Romig (2003) T. Milbemycin oxime in a new formulation, combined with praziquantel, does not reduce the efficacy of praziquantel against Echinococcus multilocularis in cats. Journal of Helminthology 77; 367-370.
  • Jenkins D. J. and Morris B. (2003) Echinococcus granulosus in wildlife in and around the Kosciuszko National Park, south-eastern Australia. Aust Vet J 81; 59-63.

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