• Office
  • Stewart Bldg. 2533
  • 54746

Kelsey Spence

Assistant Professor   |   BSc, PhD


Dr. Kelsey Spence is an Assistant Professor in Epidemiology and One Health in the Department of Population Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph. Dr. Spence received her BSc from Trent University in 2014 and PhD in Epidemiology from the University of Guelph in 2017. She completed her postdoctoral training at the Royal Veterinary College in the United Kingdom, where her research focused on improving preparedness for emerging and exotic diseases in the British horse industry. Prior to returning to the Ontario Veterinary College in 2021, Dr. Spence was a scientific evaluator for the Public Health Agency of Canada as part of the COVID-19 pandemic response. Dr. Spence's research explores the implementation of disease prevention and control measures, with a particular focus on how attitudes and behaviours influence the spread of infectious diseases in populations (and vice versa). She uses quantitative and qualitative approaches to identify and communicate optimal risk reduction strategies to ultimately improve disease preparedness.

Research Interests

My research focuses on improving the uptake and implementation of infectious disease prevention and control measures. I am particularly interested in improving education, communication, and knowledge translation strategies to improve the uptake of biosecurity-related research. General topics of interest include: biosecurity, infectious disease epidemiology, mixed methods (qualitative and quantitative), One Health, and knowledge translation.

Prospective graduate students whose research interests align with mine should contact me early to discuss available opportunities. If you are interested in working with me, please contact me via email and include an unofficial transcript, academic resume, and a description of your research interests.

I am currently recruiting a thesis-based MSc student for the following position, beginning in Fall 2022: https://sway.office.com/hCfOXlqnNP4QYQW1?ref=Link&loc=play. The position is co-supervised by myself and Dr. Katie Clow, and we are looking for a student to conduct research on motivations for using preventative measures for tick-borne diseases. Prospective students will need to apply for a receive a scholarship to support their stipend, so interested students should apply for the position as soon as possible.

Current Graduate Students


POPM*6200*01 - Epidemiology I (Graduate)

POPM*3240*01 - Epidemiology (Undergraduate)

Selected Publications

Gabriele-Rivet V, Spence KL, Ogden NH, Fazil A, Turgeon P, Otten A, Waddell LA, Ng V. (2021). Modelling the impact of age-stratified public health measures on SARS-CoV-2 transmission in Canada. Royal Society Open Science 8:210834.

Spence KL, Rosanowski SM, Slater J, Cardwell JM. (2021). Challenges to exotic disease preparedness in Great Britain: the frontline veterinarian’s perspective. Equine Veterinary Journal 00:1-11.

Spence KL, Cardwell JM, Slater J, Rosanowski SM. (2019). Preliminary insight into horse owners’ perceptions of, and attitudes towards, exotic disease in the United Kingdom. BMC Veterinary Research 15(338).

Spence KL, Slater J, Rosanowski SM, Cardwell JM. (2019). A cross-sectional study of horse owners’ awareness and perceived risk of exotic diseases in the United Kingdom. Preventive Veterinary Medicine 169: 104706.

Spence KL, O’Sullivan TL, Poljak Z, Greer AL. (2019). Descriptive analysis of horse movement networks during the 2015 equestrian season in Ontario, Canada. PLOS One 14(7): e0219771.

Spence KL, O’Sullivan TL, Poljak Z, Greer AL. (2018). A longitudinal study describing horse demographics and movements during a competition season in Ontario, Canada. Canadian Veterinary Journal. 59(7):783–790.

Spence KL, O’Sullivan TL, Poljak Z, Greer AL. (2018). Using a computer simulation model to examine the impact of biosecurity measures during a facility-level outbreak of equine influenza. Canadian Journal of Veterinary Research 82(2):89–96.

Spence KL, O’Sullivan TL, Poljak Z, Greer AL. (2018). Estimating the potential for disease spread in horses associated with an equestrian show in Ontario, Canada using an agent-based model. Preventive Veterinary Medicine 151:21–28.

Spence KL, O’Sullivan TL, Poljak Z, Greer AL. (2017). Descriptive and network analyses of the equine contact network at an equestrian show in Ontario, Canada and its implications for disease spread. BMC Veterinary Research 13(191).

Greer AL, Spence KL, Gardner E. (2017). Understanding the early dynamics of the 2014 porcine epidemic diarrhoea virus (PEDV) outbreak in Ontario using the Incidence Decay and Exponential Adjustment (IDEA) model. BMC Veterinary Research 13(8).

Search PubMed for additional publications by Dr. Spence.