Postdoctoral Fellows

Dr Eleonore Hellard

PhD (Lyon)

John Day Building: 3.33



Eleonore’s research interests stand at the interface between eco-epidemiology, infectious diseases ecology, behavioural, population, and community ecology, and modelling. She tries to build bridges between these disciplines, which she believes is crucial to understand the circulation, evolution and impacts of parasites in natural populations.

After her masters in ecophysiology and ethology, during which she studied the grooming behaviour of wild vervet monkeys in Mpumalanga, she completed her PhD in eco-epidemiology and modelling at the University of Lyon (France). Her PhD focused on the question of multiple infections and in particular on the detection of parasite interactions in natural host populations. She developed modelling methods to detect parasite interactions in the field when only serological data (i.e. presence-absence data) are available. She applied them to four feline viruses surveyed in several populations of domestic cats living in a rural area in North-eastern France. The aim was also to identify hosts behavioural and physiological factors (e.g., way of life, testosterone levels) that are key for the co-circulation of microparasites. In parallel to this work, she run a study on human-spotted hyena conflicts in periphery of Hwange National Park (Zimbabwe), supported by the National Geographic Society. She also enjoys teaching, which she could do during her PhD and later as a research and teaching fellow at the University of Lyon.

She joined the Fitzpatrick Institute in July 2013 on a University of Cape Town URC Post-doctoral Research Fellowship. Her research at the institute focuses on the circulation of avian malaria within communities of wetland-associated birds in southern Africa. The goals are 1) to better describe this poorly known system and 2) to investigate the influence of host community composition and structure on the prevalence of avian malaria.

Research programmes

Waterbird movements, parasitology and epidemiology

Current Students

Conservation Biology MSc (thesis component)

Jessleena Suri: How does urbanisation affect the health status and foraging strategies of black sparrowhawks (Accipiter melanoleucus) on the Cape Peninsula. (Co-supervisors: Arjun Amar & Petra Sumasgutner)

Graduated Students

Conservation Biology MSc (thesis component)

Marcela Espinaze: Understanding host-tick interactions: risk assessment of mammals' infection in South Africa. (Co-supervisor: Graeme Cumming)

Recent peer-reviewed publications

In peer-reviewed journals:

Cumming, G., Abolnik, C., Caron, A., Gaidet-Drapier, N., Grewar, J., Hellard, E., Henry, D. & Reynolds, C.Social-ecological approach to landscape epidemiology: geographic variation and avian influenza. Landscape Ecology 30:963-985.

Espinaze, M., Hellard, E. & Cumming, G. (in press). Analysis of large new South African data set using two host specificity indices shows generalism in both adult and larval ticks of mammals. Parasitology.

Hellard, E.Cumming, G.S., Caron, A., Coe, E., and Peters, J. (in press). Testing epidemiological functional groups as predictors of avian haemosporidia patterns in southern Africa. Ecosphere.

Hellard, E., Fouchet, D., Vavre, F. & Pontier, D. 2015. Parasite-parasite interactions in the wild: how to detect them? Trends in Parasitology. doi 10.1016/

Hellard, E., Pontier, D., Siberchicot, A., Sauvage, F. & Fouchet, D. 2015. Unknown age in health disorders: A method to account for its cumulative effect and an application to feline viruses interactions. Epidemics 11:48-55.

Hellard, E., Fouchet, D., Rey, B., Mouchet, A., Poulet, H. & Pontier, D. 2013. Differential association between circulating testosterone and infection risk by several viruses in a cat population: a behavioral-mediated effect? Parasitology 140, 521-529.

Hellard, E., Pontier, D., Sauvage, F., Poulet, H. & Fouchet, D. 2012. True versus false parasite interactions: A robust method to take risk factors into account and Its application to feline viruses. PLoS ONE 7(1): e29618. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0029618.

Hellard, E., Fouchet, D., Santin-Janin, H., Tarin, B., Badol, V., Coupier, C., Leblanc, G., Poulet, H. & Pontier, D. 2011. When cats’ ways of life interact with their viruses: a study in 15 natural populations of owned and unowned cats (Felis silvestris catus). Preventive Veterinary Medicine 101 (3-4), 250-264.

Raharimalala, F.N., Ravaomanarivo, L.H., Ravelonandro, P., Rafarasoa, L.S., Zouache, K., Tran-Van, V., Mousson, L., Failloux, A.B., Hellard, E., Valiente Moro, C., Ralisoa, B.O., Mavingui, P. 2012. Biogeography of the two major arbovirus mosquito vectors, Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus (Diptera, Culicidae), in Madagascar. Parasites and Vectors, 5:56.

Minard, G., Tran, F., Hellard, E., Nazaret, S., Raharimalala, F.N., Ravelonandro, P., Mavingui, P. & Valiente Moro, C. 2012. Prevalence of Acinetobacter and Asaia in natural populations of the mosquito vector Aedes albopictus and evidence of high diversity in genomic architecture and phenotype microarray of mosquito-associated Acinetobacter isolates. FEMS Microbiology Ecology.

Fruteau, C., Lemoine, S., Hellard, E. & van Damme, E., Noë, R. 2011. When females trade grooming for grooming: Testing partner control and partner choice models of cooperation in primates. Animal Behaviour 81(6), 1223-1230.

Spinelli, M, van de Waal, E, Fruteau, C, Hellard, E., Bshary R., Noe, R. 2009. Signals during grooming interactions in wild vervet monkeys. Folia Primatologica, 80 (2): 143-143.

Book chapter

Murwira, A., de Garine-Witchatitsky, M., Zengeya, F., Poshiwa, X., Matema, S., Caron, A., Guerbois, C., Hellard, E. & Fritz, H. Resource gradients and movements across the edge of transfrontier parks, in: Transfrontier Conservation Areas: People Living on the Edge. Andersson, J., Cumming, D., de Garine-Wichatitsky, M. Dzingirai, V. & Giller, K. (Eds), Earthscan, London. ISBN-13: 978-1849712088.

Technical reports, General public articles

Laromiguière, O. and Hellard, E. 2010. Un nouvel éclairage sur le conflit homme-hyène au Zimbabwe [en: New perspectives on the human-hyaena conflict in Zimbabwe].

Hellard, E., 2010. Ecological and anthropogenic determinants of the human-hyaena conflict at the interface between Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe, and its periphery. Activity report for NGS Conservation Trust, 9th June 2010. 22p.