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Mr Elliott Bussell

Mr Elliott Bussell
Department of Plant Sciences
University of Cambridge
Downing Street

Cambridge CB2 3EA
Office Phone: 01223 748957


As part of my MSci in Physics at the University of Cambridge I carried out a research project with Dr Nik Cunniffe investigating fractal properties of epidemic patterns. I started the BBSRC Cambridge DTP program in 2015, carrying out rotation projects with Prof. Mario Caccamo at NIAB, and with Prof Chris Gilligan in the Department of Plant Sciences. I started my PhD with Dr Nik Cunniffe in 2016.

Research Interests

I am interested in optimising management of plant disease outbreaks. I focus on methods for making practical use of mathematical results, testing results on realistic simulations of disease spread to assess efficacy in the real world. Simulation models that are used to assess the performance of potential management strategies to inform policy are too complex to allow exhaustive optimisation. We investigate the use of optimal control theory on simpler approximate models to unambiguously find the very best control. We are particularly interested in how these mathematical results can be put into practice, and how their performance should be assessed on simulation models. We make use of frameworks from control systems engineering, including open-loop and model predictive control, to analyse the benefit of feedback control where the approximation and control are updated throughout an epidemic.

Key Publications

EH Bussell, CE Dangerfield, CA Gilligan & NJ Cunniffe (2019) Applying optimal control theory to complex epidemiological models to inform real-world disease management. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, B.
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