• EH14 4AS

    United Kingdom

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Stochastic epidemic modelling
Optimal elimination policies for endemic infections

1993 …2024

Research activity per year

Personal profile

Research interests

My research interests are in stochastic modelling and Bayesian statistical inference, in particular for infectious disease models. Specific topics include:
(i) Modelling endemic infections. Much work in infection modelling concentrates on the initial emergence of novel pathogens, and the problem of preventing major outbreaks. For diseases which become endemic in a population, other issues come into play; in particular, one is interested in the endemic prevalence level,  and the distribution of the time until fade-out of infection.
(ii) Population heterogeneities. The very simplest mathematical models for infectious spread treat the population as homogeneously mixing. More realistically, many populations can be partitioned into homogeneously-mixing subgroups, eg pens within a pig farm, or management groups within a dairy herd.
(iii) Epidemic control - specifically, applications of mathematical control theory in epidemic modelling.
(iv) Bayesian statistical inference. I have worked on veterinary applications, on theoretical issues in the context of infectious disease models, and on modelling coral reef data.
(v) Veterinary applications, including to E. Coli O157 in dairy cattle, Salmonella in dairy cattle, and Salmonella in pigs.


I obtained my PhD, thesis entitled 'Epidemic Models in Heterogeneous Populations', from the University of Nottingham, under the supervision of Prof Frank Ball. I then held lecturing posts first at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne (Department of Mathematics), then later at the University of Liverpool (Department of Mathematical Sciences). In October 2014 I moved to Heriot-Watt University, where I am a Professor in the Department of Actuarial Mathematics and Statistics. I am a Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society, and an Associate Editor of the journal Methodology and Computing in Applied Probability. Much of my research is on the mathematcial structure of stochastic models for infectious disease transmission; I have also worked on several projects of a more applied nature, focusing on livestock infections and zoonoses.

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 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land


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