Neil M. Ferguson, OBE FMedSci
Neil Ferguson, OBE, FMedSci, is founding director of the MRC Centre for Outbreak Analysis and Modelling at Imperial College London. He uses mathematical and statistical models to investigate the processes shaping infectious disease pathogenesis, evolution and transmission. In addition to some basic theoretical work, Prof Ferguson’s research has applied models to study the transmission and control of influenza, SARS, BSE/vCJD, HIV, dengue, foot-and-mouth disease and bioterrorist threats. He was educated at Oxford University, held a Royal Society University Research Fellowship at Oxford, then a readership at the University of Nottingham before moving to Imperial College. Prof Ferguson is a Senior Investigator of the National Institute of Health Research, a Fellow of the UK Academy of Medical Sciences and received an OBE in 2001 for his work on the foot and mouth disease epidemic that year. His recent work has focussed on the use of mathematical models as contingency planning tools for emerging human infections (notably pandemic influenza), bioterrorist threats and livestock outbreaks (FMD and avian influenza), though he also undertakes research on the dynamics and control of vector-borne diseases (dengue, yellow fever and malaria). Prof Ferguson sits on multiple UK government scientific advisory bodies, and also advises the US government, the World Health Organisation and the European Union on pandemic planning and infectious disease modelling. Recently he was heavily involved in providing real-time analysis and scientific advice during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic.
Azra Ghani, PhD
Azra Ghani, PhD, is a Professor in Infectious Disease Epidemiology in the MRC Centre for Outbreak Analysis & Modelling, Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at Imperial College London. She studied mathematics at Cambridge and operational research at Southampton before pursuing a PhD in the epidemiology of sexually transmitted infections at Imperial College. She subsequently held Wellcome and Royal Society fellowships at Oxford and Imperial College and a Readership at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine prior to taking up her Chair at Imperial College in 2007. The focus of her research is in applying mathematical and statistical models to understand the transmission and control of infectious diseases, including BSE/vCJD, HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, SARS, avian influenza, tuberculosis and malaria. She is the author of over 90 academic publications and has given numerous invited talks at academic conferences. She regularly provides advice on a range of infectious disease issues to UK government and international advisory boards including WHO and EU/EFSA. She is a member of the UK government advisory committee on spongiform encephalopathies (SEAC).
Nicholas Grassly, PhD
Nicholas Grassly, PhD, is an epidemiologist with an interest in infectious diseases and the role of vaccines and drug treatment in their prevention. He is a Professor in Infectious Disease Epidemiology at Imperial College London and heads the Vaccine Epidemiology research group in this department. Dr. Grassly received his undergraduate degree and PhD in biology from the University of Oxford and has trained in mathematics with the Open University and in Health Policy and Economics at the London School of Economics and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. He became a Royal Society University Research Fellow in 2004. Dr. Grassly began his research career working on HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, when he was responsible for the UNAIDS epidemiology reference group at Imperial led by Prof Geoff Garnett. Since that time, he has worked extensively on poliovirus, identifying failure of the oral vaccine in India as a major challenge to global eradication. This work has led to clinical trials that aim to improve mucosal immunity and limit vaccine failure, which he is currently pursuing in collaboration with colleagues at the Christian Medical College in Vellore. He is also interested in improving strategies for the mass distribution of azithromycin that aim to reduce transmission of Chlamydia trachomatis and eliminate blindness due to this pathogen.
Tara Mangal, PhD
Tara Mangal, PhD, joined the MRC Centre for Outbreak Analysis and Modelling in the Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at Imperial College in January 2010 as a Research Associate. She is part of the Polio Research Group lead by Nicholas Grassly and is interested in prevention and control of infectious diseases. Prior to joining Imperial College, Dr Mangal a research associate at Hong Kong University Department of Community Medicine, modelling pandemic influenza outbreaks and surveillance strategies. Dr Mangal received her PhD at the University of Liverpool following work on the impact of climate change on vector-borne diseases. Previous to this, she was involved with the National Malaria Control Program in Mozambique, studying the economic impact of misdiagnosis of malaria. Her current work focusses on vaccine efficacy in the remaining polio endemic countries and developing mathematical models to simulate vaccine strategies in the post-eradication era.
Lucy Okell, PhD
Lucy Okell, PhD, joined the Imperial College Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology in 2009 as a Research Associate. Her work focuses on mathematical modelling of malaria and interventions for reducing transmission of the parasite. She is involved in a larger project run by Professor Azra Ghani on developing a continental-scale simulator of malaria transmission in Africa, which seeks to understand how malaria control interventions may be optimally combined in different areas. In particular, Dr. Okell focuses on the use of antimalarial treatment as a form of malaria control. She is currently conducting analyses on the feasibility of using mass population treatment for malaria control in a variety of settings in Africa.
Lulla Opatowski, PhD
Lulla Opatowski, PhD, is a Research Associate at the MRC Centre for Outbreak Analysis and Modelling in the Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at Imperial College London. Dr. Opatowski’s research focuses on mathematical modeling of the dynamics of infectious diseases. She’s been working on modeling the spread of resistant bacteria in populations (community and hospital) and the impact of drug use on bacterial ecosystems. She is currently involved in the analysis of Southern hemisphere data of the H1N1 pandemic influenza.
James Truscott is a Research Associate at the Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at Imperial College, London. Current work has focused on model choice and parameter estimation for seasonal flu. Other areas of interest include the modeling of human movement; in particular, assessing the effectiveness of gravity models. Recent work has included modeling Scrapie in the UK sheep population and the possibility of an avian flu outbreak in the UK, concentrating on the effectiveness of intervention measures.
Michael White is a PhD student at the Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at Imperial College London. Michael’s research focuses on mathematical models of malaria transmission, the design of clinical trials for malaria vaccines, and the effects of vaccination on the within-host dynamics of malaria infection.