Claire Standley
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Natural History Museum
Cromwell Road


Employment history and work experience


PhD studentship under Dr. J. Russell Stothard, funded by the NHM and administered jointly with Nottingham University.  


Field research for MSc dissertation with Buccoo Reef Trust, Tobago, under Dr Owen Day and Dr Richard Langdon. The research investigated methods for quantifying the 'tourism potential' for reefs inside and outside the Buccoo Reef Marine Reserve.  


Part time internship with Eco-coach environmental consultancy, researching household and workplace sustainability and environmental hazards. 


8-week volunteer position with the Wildlife Conservation Society in Madidi National Park, Bolivia, under Dr Robert Wallace.  Work included radio telemetry of peccaries and mammal abundance and diversity transects. 


6-week internship at the Australian Institute of Marine Science in Townsville, Queensland, under Dr Kathy Burns. The research project was to experimentally derive a methodology for extracting oestrogen compounds from seawater. 


2-week internship at the Johns Hopkins Cytogenetics Laboratory, Baltimore, USA, under Dr Gail Stettin. Research involved karyotyping patients for genetic conditions and participating in pre-delivery genetic counselling. 

1 week volunteer position with the Caribbean Conservation Corporation, in Tortuguero, Costa Rica, under Dr Sebastien Troeng, as part of the on-going Leatherback Turtle Monitoring Program. 


1-week internship at the Environmental Protection Agency, Washington DC, USA, in the Department of Media and Public Relations. 

Carrying water Tanzania

Three girls carrying water near Ukerewe Island, Lake Victoria (Tanzania) © Copyright Claire Standley


Prizes and Awards

Runner up, Student Oral Presentation, NHM Student Conference, 2009

Best Student Oral Presentation, Young Systematists Forum, 2008

London Society of Malacology Student Travel Prize, 2008

Nottingham University Graduate School Travel Prize, 2008

Daily Telegraph Young Science Writers Award - Runner-up (2003 and 2004), Finalist (2004)


2007-ongoing: PhD studentship at NHM/Nottingham University

2006-2007:  MSc Biodiversity, Conservation and Management, University of Oxford (St Edmund Hall)

2003-2006:  BA (Hons), Natural Sciences (Part II: Zoology), University of Cambridge (Trinity College)

2001-2003:  International Baccalaureate diploma (45 points received), Sevenoaks School, UK

Primary education in Brussels, Islamabad and Beijing. 


Project summary

My PhD research focuses on the landscape genetics of Biomphalaria snails in Lake Victoria. These snails are of biomedical importance as they are the intermediate hosts for the Schistosoma mansoni blood fluke, which causes intestnal schistosomiasis in people. This disease is widely spread across lakeshore communities, but its distribution is heterogeneous and, despite much study, still poorly understood. It is thought that snail population compatibility may play a role in determining distribution, which forms a part of my research. I am also recording detailed water chemistry data from collection sites, which, together with GIS mapping technology, will be used to predict parasite distributions in local communities, and the resulting maps used also to inform local and national control programmes.  Recently, I have also begun to evaluate the role of human migration in spreading the disease, and am hoping to use genetic 'barcodes' from sampled parasite populations to investigate this further. 

Working at night on Sagitu

Dr Stothard and I arouse the curiosity of the local people by working at night, under constant bombardment by lake flies! © Copyright Claire Standley


My research interests involve a multidisciplinary mix of parasitology, biodiversity consevation, public health and genetics. Specifically, I am interested in the interaction between biodiversity and infectious diseases, particularly in the context of climate change and zoonoses.  As such, I hope to complement the human-based surveys already completed for my PhD with a similar study, but in captive chimps, who are residents of a sanctuary situated on an island in Lake Victoria. A pilot survey showed presence of schistosomiasis both in the chimps and in snails inhabiting the shoreline; a greater understanding of this emerging anthropozoonitic transmission of schistosomiasis, in the natural laboratory of a captive chimp population, could help to understand other cases of parasite transmission between humans and animals in the wild, and thus aid in conservation efforts as well as protect the health of human communities. 

Research collaborations

I have been fortunate to have been supported by collaborations with a number of organisations, including:

SIMI: Schistosomiasis in Mothers and Infants (Wellcome Trust funded project in Uganda)

 EU-CONTRAST website (a multi-country effort to combat schistosomiasis in sub-Saharan Africa). 


Standley CJ, Lwambo NJS, Lange CN, Kariuki HC, Adriko M and Stothard JR (submitted to the Journal of Helminthology, June 2009) 'Notes on the use of urine-CCA dipsticks for diagnosis of intestinal schistosomiasis in under-reported areas of Lake Victoria in Tanzania and Kenya'

Standley CJ, Adriko M, Alinaitwe M, Kazibwe F, Kabatereine NB and Stothard JR (submitted to Geospatial Health, March 2009) ‘Intestinal schistosomiasis and soil-transmitted helminthiasis in Ugandan schoolchildren: A rapid mapping assessment around shoreline schools of Lake Victoria, supplemented by questionnaires’

Stothard JR, Figueiredo JC, Standley CJ, van Dam GJ, Knopp S, Utzinger J, Ameri H, Khamis AN, Khamis IS, Deedler AM, Mohammed KA and Rollinson D (2009) ‘An evaluation of urine-CCA strip test and fingerprick blood SEA-ELISA for detection of urinary schistosomiasis in schoolchildren in Zanzibar’. Acta Tropica 111 (1): 64-70

Standley, CJ (2009) ‘The many faces of change: Infectious Diseases              and Climate in East Africa’, At Issue Ezine Vol 9 (No. 3).

Standley, CJ (2008) ‘On the trail of a snail...in Uganda’, Biological Sciences Review 21 (2): 10-13

Standley, CJ (2008) ‘On the trail of a snail: Malacological fieldwork in Uganda’, The Malacologist (Bulletin 51)

Boats Kenya

Fishing boats on Lake Victoria near Busia, Kenya © Copyright Claire Standley