I am interested in the biology of blood-feeding insects and ticks and how this affects the spread of the viruses they transmit and the likelihood that strategies for their control will succeed. My group investigates this by integrating laboratory, field and computational approaches. Our current research includes studies of how factors such as stress, dose and temperature alter the ability of insects to transmit important viruses such Rift Valley fever virus and bluetongue virus, as well as developing better process-based models of insect populations to allow the outcome of population control strategies to be predicted more accurately.
I have previously helped to develop models of the spread of Culicoides-borne viruses and used them to predict outbreak spread and test potential strategies for control by vaccination. Before joining The Pirbright Institute I was a doctoral student in David Rogers’ group at the University of Oxford, where I developed mechanistic models of the transmission of dengue in Thailand and used them to investigate the relative importance of climate change and strain interactions in driving historical shifts in disease patterns.
In addition to research, I lecture on vector-borne diseases on MSc and BSc courses at the University of Surrey, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Kingston University and Merrist Wood College. I also provide consultative and commercial work including insect supply and quantitative analysis of insecticide or vaccination data.