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Durham University

Research & business

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Dr Jesse Bonwitt, BVSc MSc MRCVS

Honorary Fellow in the Department of Anthropology

Contact Dr Jesse Bonwitt (email at


I graduated as veterinarian from the University of Bristol in 2012 and worked as a clinician in rural Morocco and France and gained some pre-graduate experience in wildlife medicine and conservation in South Africa and the Republic of Congo. I then moved onto policy work on the prevention and control of zoonotic and emerging infectious diseases including rabies and most recently Ebola virus disease in Guinea where I consulted for the UN Food and Agricultural Organization and the National Ebola Coordination Centre during the West African Ebola outbreak.
I have an MSc in One Health awarded jointly by the Royal Veterinary College and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. My Master thesis involved fieldwork in Sierra Leone to describe rodent human interactions as potential risks for primary transmission of Lassa fever and understand the wider socio-economic context in which they occur.

Current research interest

My current research interest involves understanding how human behaviours affects disease emergence and spread.

From 2015 until 2016 I was the principal research assistant for an ESRC funded project on the anthropology of the West African Ebola outbreak based in Guinea and Sierra Leone. Drawing from my experience in infectious diseases and epidemiology, I use an anthropological approach to investigate the human-animal interface and its intersection between food security and public health in order to inform public health policy and eco-epidemiological and anthropological research for viral haemorrhagic fevers (Ebola and Lassa). I continue this work as a member of the Anthro-Zoonoses Network.

The ESRC project is a multidiscplinary collaboration between Durham University (Hannah Brown), King’s College London (Ann Kelly), Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin (Almudena Mari-Saez and Matthias Borchert), Njala University Sierra Leone (Foday Sahr and Rashid Ansumana) and Gamal Abdel Nasser University of Conakry (Pépé Billvogui and Magassouba N’Faly). 


Journal Article

International Collaboration

  • King's College London
  • Mercy Hospital Research Laboratory (Bo, Sierra Leone)
  • Njala University, Sierra Leone
  • Projet Fièvres Hémorragiques en Guinée, Université Gamal Nasser (Conakry, Guinea)
  • Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin