We have Professor Dirk Pfeiffer to thank for introducing us to Anne. While Anne was working at the Royal Veterinary College in London, Dirk recognised Anne’s special aptitude for quantitative epidemiology and her skills related to health information systems. Dirk recommended Anne to support Ausvet’s ongoing work with Indonesia’s National Animal Health Information System,iSIKHNAS and other information systems, developing analyses and data visualisations. We quickly recognised Anne’s talents as an epidemiologist, her potential to become a shining light in the field and invited Anne to work with Ausvet in our Perth office.
Anne’s PhD studies were based around an Ausvet project undertaken in Chile, working in collaboration with the Chilean Government and the salmon industry. Originally conceived as a series of epidemiological studies into Piscirickettsia salmonis, a major constraint to salmon production in Chile, with Anne’s assistance, the project was transformed into something much more ambitious – the secure integration of commercial production data from over half the industry, to create an exceptionally powerful (and challenging) data set on disease, management and environmental factors. Anne’s advanced data management skills made this audacious approach possible, as well as underpinning the work of others on the project team. We were exploring new epidemiological territory and Anne navigated the difficult work with great tenacity.
The papers in Anne’s thesis reflect the broad scope of her research and cross-disciplinary contribution. The first three studies may be seen as classic epidemiological investigations – assessing antibiotic treatment efficacy, the complex interactions between sea lice treatment and piscirickettsiosis, and understanding water-borne disease spread. These studies reflect Anne’s relentless scientific rigour and methodological diligence, seeking out expert input to use the most appropriate statistical analytical tools available and carefully considering their strengths and limitations.
For her fourth study, Anne turned her attention to the challenges of integration of commercial production data for epidemiological analysis. With her characteristic thoroughness, Anne applied qualitative techniques to address stakeholder attitudes towards data sharing, seeking out mentors experienced in the use of these methods, and challenging herself and co-authors to apply the same critical thought processes to a new methodological domain.
Anne’s final study took an even broader view, touching on some of the philosophical foundations of scientific endeavour, examining progress towards accessible, re-usable research data. During her studies, Anne undertook fieldwork in Chile, moved from Australia to France to work with Ausvet’s new European office, was challenged, like the rest of us, with the isolation and stresses of a global pandemic, and continued with a busy schedule of consulting work. Along with her PhD, Anne also simultaneously worked on such issues as African Swine Fever compartmentalisation in Canada, Foot and Mouth Disease in North Africa, participating in developing OIE guidelines, continuing support for Indonesia’s iSIKHNAS, and creating a new Fish Health Audit system for British Columbia.
Anne Meyer’s thesis is outstanding, but given her other epidemiological activities, we think her achievements are truly remarkable. We are in awe of Anne’s capabilities and she is a valued member of our team. Congratulations to Anne on this important achievement!
We would like to thank Arjan Stegeman for his generous support and guidance, the examination team for their careful consideration of Dr Meyer’s work, and the Chilean National Fisheries and Aquaculture Service, SERNAPESCA and the Chilean salmon industry in general for their participation in the studies.