Biological, clinical and environmental systems modelling

As a group we focus on analysing the structure and dynamics of complex biological and clinical systems, with a specific interest in developing approaches for investigating spatially and temporally heterogeneous processes. A key driver of our research is its practical problem solving for stakeholders through the use of modelling. All of our themes are linked and overlap ~ a common thread is the interest in identifying appropriate methods of intervention to change system dynamics.

Current research interests are focused on:

  • the epidemiology of human, livestock and wildlife disease, with a particular interest in zoonotics. We have developed modelling frameworks to investigate the dynamics of livestock diseases such as bovine TB in badgers and livestock; Pneumonia in children; Campylobacterosis in humans and chickens and European Foulbrood in bees
  • analysing disease pathways and clinical outcomes in human disease. We have developed models to investigate the development and treatment of disease such as prostate cancer; primary biliary cirrhosis
  • the ecology of invasive species and their impacts on biodiversity. We have undertaken extensive research on the impacts of vertebrate invasive species such as squirrels on native species. Here we are interested in the spatial dynamics of invasive and native species and how modelling can be used to devise methods for intervention.
  • Understanding system function in complex microbial systems. The factors determining the structure and functioning of microbial communities are poorly understood. We are interested in oligotrophic systems (Antarctic soils) as well as eutrophic systems (sewage works; and vertebrate guts) and the role of microbial communities in determining pathogenic disease in humans and livestock.

Much of our work is undertaken in collaboration with other academic units/institutions or government organisations and agencies. We have a research grant portfolio that includes funding from the Medical Research Council (MRC); Biology and Biotechnology Research Council (BBSRC); Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) as well as EU funding. Further details are available on our dedicated website.