Gaëlle Nicolas Post-doctoral researcher

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Gaëlle Nicolas graduated in Animal health and epidemiology of tropical diseases at the Université de Montpellier 2 (UM2, France) in 2010. She completed her PhD thesis at the UM2 in December 2013 on the circulation of Rift Valley Fever (RVF) by cattle movement with a particular emphasis on the modelling of the viral spread in a temperate and mountainous ecosystem of the Madagascar highland. During her PhD, she spend 1.5 years in Madagascar to collect field data. This was followed by 1 year in ANSES (the french agency for food and safety) and CIRAD teams, to analyse these data and share competences. Since January 2014, she joined SpELL as a post-doctoral researcher funded by the “Mapping people and livestock” FNRS project.

Research interests

Through the understanding of social habits and local practices Gaëlle tries to study the impact of human and environmental factors on the emergence of infectious diseases, with a particular focus on the inter-species interface (Wildlife/Livestock/Human). With an epidemiological background rooted in the field, she combines different approaches such as satellite imagery, Geographical Information Systems, statistical and mechanistic modelling for an integrated approach of epidemiological problems. Her current research focus on the spatial epidemiology of animal disease, livestock mobility and spatial distribution mapping of livestock using information from agricultural censuses, geo-referenced data and remote-sensed imagery.

Ongoing research projects

Previous research project

Emerging, Viral Vector-Borne Diseases (Vmerge): Rift Valley fever and Bluetongue virus spreading, livestock mobility



Environmental heterogeneity and variations in the velocity of bluetongue virus spread in six European epidemics
G. Nicolas, C. Tisseuil, A. Conte, A. Allepuz, M. Pioz, R. Lancelot and M. Gilbert.
"Preventive Veterinary Medicine", vol. 149, 2018.

Towards the description of livestock mobility in Sahelian Africa: Some results from a survey in Mauritania
A. Apolloni, G. Nicolas, C. Coste, A.B.E. Mamy, B. Yahya, A.S.E. Arbi, M.B. Gueya, D. Baba, M. Gilbert and R. Lancelot.
"PLOS ONE", vol. 13, issue 1, 2018.


H7N9 and H5N1 avian influenza suitability models for China: accounting for new poultry and live-poultry markets distribution data
J. Artois, S. Lai, L. Feng, H. Jiang, H. Zhou, X. Li, M.S. Dhingra, C. Linard, G. Nicolas, X. Xiao, T.P. Robinson, H. Yu and M. Gilbert.
"Stochastic Environmental Research and Risk Assessment", 2016.

Using Random Forest to Improve the Downscaling of Global Livestock Census Data
G. Nicolas, T.P. Robinson, G.R.W. Wint, G. Conchedda, G. Cinardi and M. Gilbert.
"PLOS ONE", vol. 11, issue 3, 2016.


Income Disparities and the Global Distribution of Intensively Farmed Chicken and Pigs
M. Gilbert, G. Conchedda, T.P. Van Boeckel, G. Cinardi, C. Linard, G. Nicolas, W. Thanapongtharm, L. D'Aietti, W. Wint, S.H. Newman and T.P. Robinson.
"PLOS ONE", vol. 10, issue 7, 2015.


A spatially explicit metapopulation model and cattle trade analysis allow identifying the key determinants of the recurrent circulation of Rift Valley fever virus in a pilot area of Madagascar highlands
G. Nicolas, V. Chevalier, L.M. Tantely, D. Fontenille and B. Durand.
"PLoS Negl Trop Dis", vol. 8, issue 12, 2014.

A three years serological and virological catte follow-up in Madagascar highlands suggests a non-classical transmission route of Rift Valley fever virus
G. Nicolas, B. Durand, T.T. Rakotoarimanana, S. Lacote, V. Chevalier and P. Marianneau.
"Am J Trop Med Hyg", vol. 90, 2014.


Description and analysis of cattle trade network in Madagascar highlands: potential role in the diffusion of Rift Valley fever virus
G. Nicolas, B. Durand, R. Duboz, R. Rakotondravao and V. Chevalier.
"Acta Trop", vol. 126, 2013.

Specific cattle exchange practices and vector based transmission shape RVFV circulation in Madagascar highlands
G. Nicolas, B. Durand, R. Duboz, R. Rakotondravao and V. Chevalier.
"Proceeding SVEPM2013", 2013.

Towards a better understanding of Rift Valley fever epidemiology in the South-West of the Indian Ocean
T. Balenghien, E. Cardinale, V. Chevalier, N. Elissa, A.B. Failloux, T. Jean José Nipomichene, G. Nicolas, V. Rakotoharinome, M. Roger and B. Zumbo.
"Vet Res", vol. 44, issue 78, 2013.