Skip to main content

Project details: Poultry Hub


The global demand for chicken meat and eggs is escalating and the challenge to meet it in a safe and sustainable way affects us all. However, rapid intensification of poultry production can come with big public health risks. These include bacterial food poisoning, the emergence of diseases with epidemic, even pandemic, potential such as avian influenza, and increased transmission of antimicrobial resistance.

Our programme of interdisciplinary research aims to contribute knowledge and understanding that will influence and inform policymakers and lead to animal and public health interventions that contribute to safer and more secure poultry production. This will reduce the risk of diseases (‘zoonoses’) spreading from chickens to people, decrease the incidence of food poisoning in consumers locally and reduce threats of animal and human disease outbreaks globally. It will also bring economic and wellbeing benefits to poultry farmers and others in the poultry supply network and improve overall performance of the industry, contributing to local, national and regional development. Finally, and most importantly, it will contribute to meeting the nutritional needs of poor people.

In this way, our work directly aims to address the UN Sustainable Development Goals, in particular: SDG 1 (No Poverty), SDG 2 (Zero hunger) and SDG 3 (Good health and wellbeing).


We are addressing a major global challenge: how to achieve sustainable intensification of chicken meat and egg production while reducing risks to human and animal health. This involves undertaking innovative research, participating in activities to ensure we contribute to real change and collaborating with others.  Our research enshrines a One Health approach and recognises the interconnectedness between animal health, human health and the environment. We are an interdisciplinary team and will apply holistic interventions tailored to local situations.

People & poultry

Hub researchers are characterising the networks through which chickens (and chicken products) are produced, reared and distributed, to identify the points in these networks that are associated with the highest risks of disease emergence and transmission. These studies will allow us to consider where and how specific interventions to mitigate disease risk are best applied. Our work characterising the different production and distribution networks uses a variety of quantitative and qualitative methodologies that include network mapping, ethnographic and economic surveys, and behavioural studies.

Disease dynamics

Hub researchers are using microbiological and molecular methods to assess the rate(s) of transmission of pathogens and genes and quantify the amounts and the genetic diversity of specific pathogens/genes along entire production and distribution networks. This includes the detailed analysis of thousands of samples taken from chickens, people and the environment. The transmission and evolution of biological agents that pass between chickens and from chickens to people (zoonotic pathogens) are shaped by poultry production and distribution. The zoonotic pathogens of interest to us include avian influenza viruses, bacteria that cause food poisoning, and gut microbes including those that harbour antimicrobial resistance (AMR) genes.