Professor Colleen Lau

NHMRC Fellow, Department of Global Health
ANU College of Health and Medicine

Areas of expertise

  • Infectious Diseases 110309
  • Epidemiology 111706
  • Environmental And Occupational Health And Safety 111705
  • Primary Health Care 111717
  • Public Health And Health Services 1117
  • Pacific Peoples Health 111715

Research interests

Infectious disease epidemiology
Eco-epidemiology of leptospirosis
Lymphatic filariasis elimination
Spatial epidemiology
Environmental health
Clinical travel medicine



Dr Colleen Lau is a clinician with special interest in travel medicine and tropical medicine. Colleen’s research interests include infectious disease epidemiology, emerging infectious diseases, environmental health, spatial epidemiology, travel vaccinations, malaria prophylaxis, tropical medicine, and the impact of global environmental change on infectious diseases.  Her research projects focus on answering practical questions in clinical management of infectious diseases, and operational questions on improving strategies to solve public health problems.  She is currently an NHMRC Fellow in the Department of Global Health at the Research School of Population Health.

Dr Lau has a particular interest in the eco-epidemiology of leptospirosis, and the impact of global environmental change (including climate change, flooding, population growth, urbanisation, agricultural intensification, and biodiversity loss) on the transmission dynamics of this disease. Her work has included eco-epidemiology studies and risk mapping of leptospirosis in American Samoa, Fiji, and Queensland.  She was also engaged as a WHO consultant to help develop Fiji's National Guidelines for Diagnosis and Management of Leptospirosis. 

Another special research interest is lymphatic filariasis elimination, to determine the most effective strategies for managing the endgame of the global disease elimination program. Dr Lau is currently leading an operational research project on lymphatic filariasis elimination in American Samoa, in collaboration with the Taskforce for Global Health, CDC Atlanta, and the American Samoa Department of Health.

Dr Lau is a regular guest lecturer in Tropical Medicine at James Cook University, in Travel Medicine at the University of Otago, and at Continuing Medical Education (CME) events for General Practitioners.  

Researcher's projects


Surveillance and Monitoring to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis and Scabies from Samoa - SaMELFS Samoa 2018

Eco-epidemiology of human leptospirosis in Fiji

Animal screening for Leptospira serovars in Fiji

Lymphatic filariasis elimination in American Samoa - strategies for the endgame

Combating infectious disease emergence and outbreaks: interactive and dynamic tools for public health risk assessment and decision-making

The 3-Day Malarone Schedule: Acceptability and Tolerability for Malaria Prophylaxis

Health and wellbeing of gap year travellers

Acquisition of multi-drug resistant bacteria by international travellers to Asia

Available student projects

Systematic review of the use of Bayesian networks for decision-making in clinical medicine and public health. 

Systematic review of intradermal rabies vaccination in travellers.

Current student projects

1. Characterising leptospirosis transmission dynamics and implications for outbreaks in Fiji (PhD).

2. Gram negative blood stream infections in children (PhD).

3. Improving antibiotic stewardship in Vanuatu (PhD).

4. Development of a Spatial Decision Support System for the control of helminth infections of children in selected African nations (PhD).

5. The role of malnutrition, malaria and helminth infections in the geographic risk of anaemia, impaired growth and development of children under 5 years of age in Africa and Asia (PhD).

Past student projects

MBBS/Honours:  Exploring the interactions between environmental and social determinants of childhood diarrhoeal disease in Limpopo Province, South Africa.

B Health Science: Ecosystem Health and Pathogen Regulation – Does Biodiversity Affect Leptospirosis Risk?

Master of Internation Health Dissertation: Management Options for Non-Responders to Hepatitis B Vaccines: A Systematic Review.

Master of Biostatistics project: A systematic review and meta-analysis of management options for adults who respond poorly to hepatitis B vaccination.


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Updated:  27 May 2024 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers