Professor Chris Gilligan, Professor of Mathematical Biology
News: BBSRC Ash Dieback Funding Award 8/3/13
The Epidemiology and Modelling Group, in conjunction with Rothamsted Research, has been awarded £1 million in funding to develop and test mathematical, computer-based models to predict the spread of ash dieback in the UK, to improve strategies for surveillance and monitoring of the disease, and to inform ways to stop or delay the spread.
Professor Chris Gilligan, welcomed the award, saying: "This timely award will enable us to solve some of the fundamental epidemiological questions that underpin the ability of the UK to respond quickly and effectively to pest and disease incursions. The project is also designed to provide practical advice about the spread, where to sample, and the potential for management of ash dieback to policy makers and stakeholders throughout the course of the project." More information.
Epidemiology and Modelling
Our research is concerned principally with analysis of factors that influence and control invasion, persistence and variability of disease and other organisms using a combination of experimentation and modelling. We have a lively mixture of experimenters, mathematicians and statisticians working closely on a range of epidemiological and ecological problems.
Our current experimental programme studies the spatial and temporal dynamics of beneficial and pathogenic, soil-borne, micro-organisms at a range of spatial scales and as model experimental microcosms of larger-scale systems in the field. Applications include: interpreting and minimising the risk of failure of biological and chemical control; formulation and testing models for soil biodiversity and saprotrophic dynamics; and use of microcosm experiments as experimental analogues of large field systems.
Our theoretical work uses a range of mathematical and statistical techniques to analyse the spatial and temporal dynamics of epidemics. We are particularly concerned to link theory with data from experiments and observational studies in order to test models that will be used to help in controlling epidemics. While most of the work is focused on plant disease in agricultural, horticultural, plantation and natural environments, our theories extend to other systems. Topics for study include the control of plant disease to minimise risk of resistance breakdown; control of antibiotic and pesticide resistance for plant and animal diseases; spread of genetically modified crops; and invasion of new or recurrent animal and plant diseases.