Information sheet: Senior appointment in infectious disease modelling
The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine has an internationally excellent reputation in public health and tropical medicine, is a leading postgraduate medical institution in Europe and is Britain's national school of public health. A special strength of the School's research is its multi-disciplinary nature: leading researchers have backgrounds in public health medicine, epidemiology, clinical medicine, infectious diseases, chemotherapy, biochemistry, immunology, genetics, molecular biology, entomology, statistics, demography, health economics, public health engineering, medical anthropology, health promotion, environmental health management, and health policy.
Department of Infectious and Tropical Diseases
The Department of Infectious and Tropical Diseases is newly formed and encompasses all of the laboratory-based research in the School as well as that on the clinical and epidemiological aspects of infectious and tropical diseases. It is headed by Peter Smith, who is Professor of Tropical Epidemiology. The range of disciplines represented in the department is very broad and inter-disciplinary research is a feature of much of our activity. The spectrum of diseases studied is wide and there are major research groups with a focus on malaria, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases, vaccine development and evaluation, and vector biology and disease control. The Department is organised into five large research units comprising: Immunology, Pathogen Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, Disease Control and Vector Biology, Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Clinical Research. There is close interaction between scientists in different research teams. The Department has strong overseas links which provide a basis for field studies and international collaborations in developed and developing countries. The teaching programme includes MSc courses, which are modular in structure, a variety of short-courses and an active doctoral programme (PhD and DrPH). In addition, new distance-based learning (DBL) courses are now available, leading to MSc degrees in Infectious Diseases and Epidemiology.
Current work in infectious disease modelling
The School has a long history of research on transmission models, and there are a number of current projects involving modelling, most of which are being conducted in the Department of Infectious and Tropical Diseases. A particular strength of this research is that most of the modelling work benefits from the availability of extensive empirical data from the School's many epidemiological field studies.
Felicity Cutts is involved in a range of projects using deterministic models to evaluate alternative vaccination strategies. Current work focuses on measles, rubella and hepatitis B vaccination, based on serological data from Ethiopia, India and other populations. Some of this research is carried out in collaboration with scientists at the Communicable Disease Surveillance Centre (CDSC, Colindale) and Warwick University. Paul Fine has been working with Ilona Carneiro and Emilia Vynnycky on the problem of oral polio vaccine persistence in the population in the context of polio eradication. Felicity Cutts and Andy Hall have also worked on cost-benefit modelling of hepatitis B vaccination in the UK, and a new Wellcome Trust grant will fund work with Punam Mangtani and Jenny Roberts on adult vaccination policy in the UK. The Infectious Disease Epidemiology Unit is a WHO Collaborating Centre for the Evaluation of Vaccines in Developing Countries.
HIV prevention strategies
Charlotte Watts has been working on deterministic models to evaluate the effectiveness of four intervention strategies for HIV prevention in Africa: (i) school-based sex education; (ii) condom promotion; (iii) improved STD treatment; (iv) interventions among sex workers. Cost information will also be incorporated so that cost-effectiveness can be modelled. This work has been sponsored by UNAIDS.
Richard Hayes, Heiner Grosskurth and Susie Foster have secured DFID funding for a project to apply the STDSIM stochastic simulation model of HIV and four other STDs to empirical data from three randomized trials conducted in East Africa (in Mwanza, Tanzania; and Masaka and Rakai, Uganda). These trials have evaluated the impact of four different HIV control strategies in three different populations. The model will be used to predict the relative effectiveness of the four strategies in the differing conditions of the three study populations. Comparative cost data will also be collected so that cost-effectiveness can be evaluated. This project will be conducted in collaboration with Erasmus University Rotterdam and the research teams of the three East African trials. A research fellow and research student will be working full-time on this project over the next three years. This project follows on from previous research conducted by Jamie Robinson and Richard Hayes using SimulAIDS to model the HIV epidemic in rural Uganda.
Emilia Vynnycky is working with Paul Fine on deterministic transmission models of tuberculosis. The main emphasis is on modelling the natural history of infection and disease, and analysing case reproduction rates. Initially the project is using empirical data from the UK, but it is planned to apply the model also to data from developing countries including Malawi and India.
Chris Dye and Rupert Quinnell have worked on deterministic models of rabies, looking particularly at vaccination policy for dogs, and drawing on empirical data from Tanzania and Kenya.
Clive Davies and Chris Dye have worked on models of the transmission and control of cutaneous and mucosal leishmaniasis, with funding from the European Union and the Wellcome Trust, using data from Peru and Bolivia.
New Variant CJD
Peter Smith and Simon Cousens are members of the committee advising the government on policy with regard to BSE and new variant CJD. With Emylia Vynnycky and Louise Linsell they are using models to predict future numbers of CJD cases in order to provide advice to the Department of Health.
David Bradley and Brian Greenwood are advising Klaus Dietz on a large malaria model which is being developed as an EU collaboration. Paul Coleman has also been working with Anne Mills on modelling the cost-effectiveness of malaria intervention strategies in Africa, with special reference to drug resistance and treatment policies.
Strategic initiative in disease modelling
Transmission models are likely to play an increasingly important role within public health and epidemiology over the next decade, and it would be desirable for the School to build up solid strengths in this area to the benefit of both its research and teaching programmes. The Department of Infectious and Tropical Diseases has identified the strengthening of its work on transmission models as a strategic priority, and as part of this initiative wishes to appoint a senior academic to promote and develop this area of research.
The main aim of this initiative is to build an effective critical mass of modellers, working on a range of infectious diseases. Having developed effective collaboration and networking between scientists working in this area, the medium-term aim would be to attract substantial external funds to increase the volume of disease modelling work within the School.
The Department seeks to recruit a senior modeller, to help take forward this initiative. For details of the post and person specification please contact:
Prof.dr. Richard Hayes, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Keppel Street London WC1E 7HT Tel. 0044 171 636 8636 / 0044 171 927 2243 Fax. 0044 171 436 4230 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
or Eline L. Korenromp, MSc. Center for Decision Sciences in Tropical Disease Control (CDTDC) Department of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, Erasmus University Rotterdam P.O. box 1738 3000 DR Rotterdam The Netherlands Fax ++31 10 436 9449/9455 Tel ++31 10 408 7985/7714 Internet: http://www.eur.nl/fgg/mgz/ email: email@example.com