I graduated with a first class honours degree in Mathematics from Liverpool University in 1991.I then went on to do a PhD jointly supervised by Roger Bowers in the Mathematics and Mike Begon in the Ecology departments funded by a Wellcome Trust prize studentship. I spent a year in Oxford Zoology department modelling the dynamics and control of Lymphatic filariasis. I started work as a lecturer in the Mathematics and Statistics group in Stirling in 1996 and went half time in 2001. I was promoted to Senior lecturer in 2003 and to Reader in 2010. In January 2013 I started a new role as Professor of Aquatic Food security. We set up the Centre for Aquatic Food Security which is a virtual interdisciplinary centre which looks at the role of Seafood in the wider food security picture. More recently I have led the University Research Programme on Global Food Security which brings together colleagues from across the University who are applying their research to problems in food security.
PhD University of Liverpool
Degree in Mathematics University of Liverpool
British Ecological Society The British Ecological Society
Edinburgh Mathematical Society Edinburgh Mathematical Society
My background is in mathematical modelling of infectious disease dynamics and control. I have worked extensively on models of tick borne pathogens, specifically Louping ill virus. I am interested in both developing new modelling techniques and solving real life problems. Much of my past work has been on wildlife pathogens and aquatic parasites in particular. More recently I have turned my focus to Food security and am really interested in how we can understand the complex interactions which make up our food system. I have been developing interdisciplinary projects to help us tackle these problems. Keywords: Food security. Mathematical modelling of infectious disease dynamics and control. Specific interests in emerging diseases and food security.Research OpportunitiesPotential PhD students who would like to come and work with me are encouraged to get in touch in order to discuss potential projects. I am interested in anything in the broad area of mathematical modelling in food security. Some specific examples of potential projects include:Applying the theory of marginal gains to healthy eating: Given the current predictions about future population growth and food production capacity it is clear that we, in the developed world, cannot continue to eat the same diets as we currently do. These diets are both unhealthy and environmentally demanding. This project will have dietary choices at its core and will take a holistic, interdisciplinary approach to investigating sustainable nutrition. We will develop and test a novel individual and distribution based mathematical model of human health metrics and associated diets. It will provide quantifiable evidence which links food choices, production systems, and health and environmental outcomes. The model will identify the dietary changes which lead to improved outcomes for health and sustainability. We will develop a practical, transparent and flexible tool which allows all stakeholders to investigate the range of choices available to them, and the consequences in terms of health, the economy, and sustainability.Control of Armyworms on African crops:The Armyworm is an african moth capable of destroying entire crops in a matter of weeks. They are currently being controlled by chemicals but there are possible methods of biological control, including using a virus. In this project we would build a seasonal, spatial mathematical model of armyworms (both Fall armyworms and African Armyworms) in order to test different control strategies in order to find an integrated pest management strategy which will minimise the damage done by these pests.Optimal protein intake for healthy living: Globally 20% of direct carbon emissions are from food and agriculture. In order to solve this problem there is a shift in emphasis away from sustainable intensification towards the idea of sustainable nutrition. This takes into account that fact that all food has an environmental impact that should be weighed against its role in providing nutritional and health benefits. One of the main messages coming out of the sustainable nutrition research area is that we should be eating less meat, particularly beef and lamb and eating more plant based proteins. However, whilst this argument does take into account the protein content of different food sources, it does not take into account how efficiently our bodies utilise this protein. In particular we know that, from studies of older adults, ingestion of animal based protein sources are more potent than plant protein in terms of their muscle anabolic capacity, which is particularly important in older adults because ageing as accompanied by a decline in muscle mass and function. However these results are based on a limited number of protein types which are taken in a purified, liquid form. Hypothesis: Sustainable, healthy diets might look different for different sub-sections of the population if we take a novel perspective which defines “healthy” as maintaining muscle mass and explicitly consider protein utilisation. Given that the recommendation to consume animal based protein sources for muscle maintenance with ageing conflicts with the notion that plant based protein is more environmentally sustainable this proposal has three main objectives: Objectives: 1) To examine the muscle anabolic capacity of other promising plant based protein sources. 2) To compare the sustainability of the production of the different protein sources both currently and in the light of future population and climate changes. 3) To develop a modelling framework which combines the health and sustainability data in order to determine environmental cost/health benefit ratios for each protein source.
Mathews F, Macdonald D, Taylor GM, Gelling M, Norman R, Honess P, Foster R, Gower CM, Varley S, Harris A, Palmer S, Hewinson G & Webster JP (2006) Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 273 (1584), pp. 357-365.
Fairbairn JP, Fenton A, Norman R & Hudson PJ (1999) The invasion efficiency of the entomopathogenic nematode Steindernema feltiae (Rhabditidae; Steinernematidae). In: Thomas MB, Kedwards T (ed.). Challenges in Applied population biology. Aspects of Applied Biology, 53, Warwick: Association of Applied Biologists, pp. 83-88.
Fenton A, Fairbairn JP, Norman R & Hudson PJ (1999) Modelling entomopathogenic nematodes for biological control. In: Thomas MB, Kedwards T (ed.). Challenges in Applied population biology. Aspects of Applied Biology, 53, Warwick: Association of Applied Biologists, pp. 157-163.