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Department of Plant Sciences

 

Research Group 

 
 

Research Overview

My research focuses on establishing and testing a theoretical framework that identifies the mechanisms that control invasion, persistence, scaling and variability of epidemics within changing agricultural and natural landscapes. Applications include large-scale pandemics, pesticide resistance, genetic control and biocontrol in sustainable agricultural systems and the design of intervention strategies for invasive pathogens and pests in subsistence agriculture.
 
 

School of Biological Sciences Theme Affiliations

 
 

Teaching

Taught a range of courses in epidemiology, plant pathology, statistics and mathematical biology. Designed and led for many years an innovative 60-lecture course with practicals in Quantitative Biology (now Mathematical Biology) that introduced first year biology students with the equivalent of A-level mathematics to modelling, computing and statistical analysis.
 
 

Previous Positions

  • 2020-present Director of Research, Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge
  • 2009-2013 Head of the School of Biological Sciences, University of Cambridge
  • 2008-2009 Deputy Head of the School of Biological Sciences, University of Cambridge
  • 1999-2020 Professor of Mathematical Biology, Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge
  • 1995-1999 Reader in Mathematical Biology, Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge
  • 1989-1995 University Lecturer, Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge
  • 1988-present Fellow, King’s College, University of Cambridge
  • 1982-1989 University Lecturer, Department of Applied Biology, University of Cambridge
  • 1982-1982 Visiting Professor, Department of Botany & Plant Pathology, Colorado State University
  • 1977-1982 University Demonstrator, Department of Applied Biology, University of Cambridge
 

 

Qualifications

  • 1999 ScD, University of Cambridge
  • 1978 MA, University of Oxford
  • 1977 MA, University of Cambridge
  • 1974-1978 DPhil Plant Pathology, Wolfson College, University of Oxford
  • 1971-1974 BA Agricultural & Forest Sciences, Keble College, University of Oxford
 
 
 
 

Awards and Fellowships

  • 2015 CBE for Services to Plant Pathology in the field of Epidemiology (Queen’s Birthday Honours)
  • 2012 R.W. Holley Lecturer, Cornell University
  • 2005-2010 Professorial Research Fellow, BBSRC (UK National Research Council)
  • 2009 Fisher Lecturer, Rothamsted Research
  • 2005 Honorary Fellow, American Phytopathological Society
  • 2001 President, British Society for Plant Pathology
  • 2000 Professorial Fellow, King's College, Cambridge
  • 1999 ScD, University of Cambridge
  • 1999 Personal Chair, University of Cambridge
  • 1998-1999 Senior Research Fellow, Royal Society Leverhulme Trust
  • 1998-2013 Honorary Research Fellow, Rothamsted Research
 
 

Principal Boards, Trusteeships

  • 2021-2024 Trustee, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
  • 2021-2024 Trustee, James Hutton Institute, Scotland
  • 2011-2019 Trustee, Natural History Museum, London, Prime Ministerial Appointment
  • 2011-2014 Chair, Science Advisory Council, DEFRA
  • 2011-2014 Chair, Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership Board
  • 2003-2009 Council Member, Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
  • 2009-2013 General Board Member, University of Cambridge
  • 1998-2008 Trustee, Silsoe Research Institute
 

 

Chairing of National Scientific Reviews

  • 2012-2013 Chair, UK Tree Health and Plant Biosecurity Taskforce
  • 2008 Chair, BBSRC Council Science Group for Institute of Animal Health
  • 2006 Chair, BBSRC Chair Review Institute of Animal Health
  • 2003-2004 Chair, BBSRC Council Review of Crop Science Research
  • 2003 Chair, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique Chairman, Commission d'Evaluation National Research on Plant Health and Environment
 

 

Teaching

Taught a range of courses in epidemiology, plant pathology, statistics and mathematical biology. Designed and led for many years an innovative 60-lecture course with practicals in Quantitative Biology (now Mathematical Biology) that introduced first year biology students with the equivalent of A-level mathematics to modelling, computing and statistical analysis.

 

 

Public engagement

Outputs from our models have been used to inform policy on emerging pest and pathogen threats by the UK Government, United States Department of Agriculture with ongoing work on practical applications for surveillance and management of disease of staple crops in 15 sub-Saharan African Countries, supported by the Gates Foundation and the UK Foreign, commonwealth and Development Office. We have introduced a successful early warning system for wheat rusts in Ethiopia in collaboration with the UK Met Office, CIMMYT and the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research that is also being trialled in Bangladesh and Nepal. 
 
 
Director of Research
Head of Epidemiology and Modelling Group
Professor Chris  Gilligan

Contact Details

Email address: 
Department of Plant Sciences,
Downing Street,
Cambridge,
CB2 3EA
01223 748986