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Department of Plant Sciences


Research Group


Research Overview

Mathematical Epidemiologist with a background in both plant and animal systems. Initially working with crop growth and disease models then diversifying into animal systems. Developed and led a programme of modelling work to investigate the dynamics of livestock disease and efficacy of control policies in the UK with a particular focus on understanding the impact of animal movement on spatial spread of farm animal diseases. Supervised PhD, MSc and undergraduate projects. Contributed to international disease modelling programmes on transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) through an EU collaborations and work with Massey University, New Zealand. Extensive experience in using mathematical modelling applications for mitigating threat to tree biosecurity with collaborators in the UK and North America, exploring dynamics and predicting distribution ranges of invasive tree pests and pathogens. 

Previous Positions

  • 2016-Present, Research Associate in Tree Health, Department of Plant Sciences
  • 2001-Present, Associate Lecturer Mathematical Biology, Newnham College, Cambridge
  • 2010-2016 partial career break for childcare while staying engaged in academia through (i) delivering lectures and supervision on undergraduate and postgraduate lecture courses at the University of Cambridge in Mathematical Biology and computer coding (ii) developing teaching resources for text book and (iii) using grant writing skills to raise funds to support primary school music.
  • 2001-2010 Research fellowship funded by the Kirsten Rausing Research Fellowship, the Isaac Newton Trust and Defra.
  • 1997-2001 Research Scientist, Veterinary Laboratories Agency (now APHA), Weybridge, UK


  • PhD Mathematical Epidemiology, Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge
  • MSc Mathematical Biology, University of Dundee
  • BSc (hons) Mathematics, University of York

Key Publications


All Publications


Awards and Fellowships

  • Kirsten Rausing Research Fellow
  • Isaac Newton Trust (3-year matched funding)


Lecturing roles include undergraduate and postgraduate courses in Mathematical Biology (University of Cambridge and the Wellcome Trust 'Mathematical Models for Infectious Disease Dynamics') in addition to regularly delivering courses in MATLAB to biologists and co-authoring the textbook “Introduction to MATLAB for Biologists”.
Lecture on: Part 1A Mathematical Biology, School of Biological Sciences, University of Cambridge;
MPhil Population Health Sciences, School of Clinical Medicine, University of Cambridge.
Previously have delivered lectures to Part II Plant sciences and Veterinary Medicine 
Associate Lecturer in Mathematical Biology, Newnham College
Examiner up to and including PhD level 


  • Editorial Board Member BMC Veterinary Medicine
  • 2021-Present, Chair of Local Governance Committee, Cottenham Village College
  • 2020-2021 Participant, Isaac Newton Institute Infectious Diseases of Pandemics Programme 


Outreach and Public Engagement 

Tree trail for Cambridge Science Festival and Festival of Plants 
Public speaking: most recently for the Science on Sundays series at the Cambridge Botanic Garden
Early pandemic explanatory videos LowHighCovid - covid data and modelling HQ
Part of the 100 plant science questions team 100 Plant Science Questions (@PlantQuestions) / Twitter


Postdoctoral Research Associate
Cerian Webb

Contact Details

Email address: 
Department of Plant Sciences,
Downing Site,