Ben Ashby (PI)

NERC Independent Research Fellow
Mathematical Sciences & the Milner Centre for Evolution

I am a mathematical biologist interested in the ecology and (co)evolution of hosts and their parasites. I use mathematical models and simulations to study how parasites spread through populations and evolve traits such as infectivity and virulence, and in turn how this affects the evolution of host traits such as resistance or mating strategies.

Post doctoral researchers

Cameron Smith

Cameron Smith

I am a mathematical biologist who is interested in population dynamics and epidemiology, and applying stochasticity to mathematical models. My PhD centred on the development of “hybrid methods” and their implementation on reaction-diffusion systems. Currently, my work focusses on the investigation of within-host dynamics and the effects that these have on the evolution of pathogens along the mutualism-parasitism continuum, together with a small amount of work modelling some aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Outside of maths, I attempt to play football, enjoy taking walks and singing.

PhD students

Lydia Buckingham

Lydia Buckingham

My research investigates the ways in which pathogens and their hosts co-evolve to create different age-structured patterns of immune responses in the host. At the moment, I am focussing on the differences between disease resistance in juveniles and adults. I completed my undergraduate degree in Mathematics at Merton College, Oxford, with my Master’s project exploring the effects of host heterogeneities on the spread of infectious diseases. In my spare time, I enjoy playing the piano and looking after my small flock of sheep.

Yvonne Krumbeck

Yvonne Krumbeck

(co-supervised with Tim Rogers)

I am generally interested in eco-evolutionary processes and mathematical modelling of population dynamics. More specifically, I investigate the evolution of sexual reproduction in an ecological context subject to demographic noise. In 2018, I finished my master’s degree in Physics with specialisation in Complex Adaptive Systems at University of Gothenburg, Sweden. The project I have been working on considered an attraction-repulsion model for collective motion including anticipation. Besides maths and programming, I like learning new languages and enjoy hiking, bird watching, or cosy film and board game evenings.

Alistair Pirrie

Alistair Pirrie

My research is focused on coevolution between hosts and STIs using mathematical models and computer simulations. I have recently finished my undergraduate degree, (MMath) Mathematics with International Study, at the University of Exeter. During this time I studied at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, where my interest in mathematical biology was sparked. I also completed a research internship at the University of Exeter, where I looked into how the heterogeneity of neuronal cells could be modelled by Hodgkin-Huxley computational models. I spend a lot of my free time kayaking, mountain walking, and swimming.

Jason Wood

Jason Wood

I am interested in using mathematics to help develop our understanding of eco-evolutionary systems, especially using computational methods. My current research investigates the coevolutionary dynamics of systems with three species involved; at the moment I am considering a Host – Parasite – Hyperparasite system. I completed my undergraduate degree in Mathematics and Physics (MMath) at the University of York in 2018 and my Master’s project focused on the swimming of microorganisms. In my spare time I like to read, take latin and ballroom dancing lessons, and play the niche sport of underwater hockey.

Alumni

Halimubieke Naerhulan

Halimubieke Naerhulan

(co-supervised with Tamás Székely)

Thesis: “Mating system variation in relation to disease biology in Charadrius plovers“. Defended November 2020.

Current: Teaching Fellow in the Department of Biology & Biochemistry at the University of Bath.

Undergraduate / Master’s students

2020-2021

Hettie Chapman

The evolution of sexually transmitted infections to manipulate sperm allocation

2019-20

Tom Griffiths

Incorporating community effects into a model of host-parasite coevolution

Tim Coulter

Modelling the effects of restriction modification systems on bacteria-phage population dynamics

Collaborators

Honorary group members

Herbert ‘Herbie’ Puppington

Herbert ‘Herbie’ Puppington

I joined the pack group in August 2020. I’m still young, but I’m growing fast and will be working hard on my recall skills and house training over the next few months. I have broad research interests and am keen to investigate anything new.