Personal profile

Research interests

I develop mathematical models to examine biological problems in ecology, evolution and infectious disease management. I use the mathematical techniques of adaptive dynamics to examine the evolution of host resistance to parasites and to understand how parasites diversify to counter resistance mechanisms. I examine differential equation and probabilistic models to understand the population dynamics of ecological and infectious disease systems. I answers questions such as what has caused the replacement of red squirrels by greys in the UK and what are the key transmission mechanisms in the spread of tuberculosis and African swine fever?


I studied for a PhD on ‘Temporal and Spatial Dynamics in Ecological Systems’ at the University of Liverpool under the supervision of Prof Mike Began and Prof Roger Bowers. Between 1996-1999 I worked at the NERC Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Edinburgh on a Department of the Environment contract to investigate the Impacts of Climate Change on Natural Vegetation. This work formed part of the UK government’s contribution to the Kyoto (1997), Buenos Aires (1998) and Bonn (1999) Climate Conventions. In 1999 I joined the Mathematics Department at Heriot Watt becoming a Senior Lecturer in 2003, a Reader in 2009 and a Professor in 2013. I undertake interdisciplinary research which applies mathematical techniques to answer question in biology. I have collaborations with biologists at the Universities of Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Sheffield, UC Berkeley, Emory and the Institute of Game and Wildlife Research, Spain.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 6 - Clean Water and Sanitation
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 14 - Life Below Water
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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