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PhD Studentship on mathematical modelling of malaria in the Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology

The Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology has funding available for a UK Royal Society PhD Studentship on malaria to start in October 2018.

We are one of the largest academic departments specialising in infectious disease epidemiology in Europe. Our highly interdisciplinary research focuses on the transmission, evolution and control of infectious diseases in human and animal populations. We have particular strengths in epidemiological and mathematical modelling, backed by focused field and experimental research.

The studentship will be for up to 3.5 years, so as to include a funded 6-month writing-up period. An enhanced stipend of £17,553 p.a. is offered, together with fully funded tuition fees at the home/EU rate and research expenses for conferences, visits to collaborators and external training courses. The successful student will become part of the Imperial Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology cohort and benefit from the training, network and support provided for these students.

Project - Investigating the dynamics of drug-resistant malaria transmission
Primary supervisor: Lucy Okell
Co-supervisors: Azra Ghani, Tom Churcher or Samir Bhatt

Malaria, caused by the parasite Plasmodium falciparum, has evolved resistance to all drugs which have been deployed against it. Most recently, artemisinin-resistant malaria has emerged in South-East Asia, creating a major public health crisis which may also affect Africa in the near future, where the majority of malaria deaths occur. Understanding which control measures could best slow the spread or contain artemisinin-resistant malaria is critical in the absence of a suitable alternative drug. The student will develop mathematical models to analyse how different epidemiological and pharmacodynamic factors interact to facilitate or inhibit resistance evolution and spread. Key aims will be to validate modelling against resistance data, using the increasing quantity of information on clinical outcomes and molecular markers, and to investigate potential strategies to slow or prevent drug resistance. The specific focus of the PhD project will be chosen according to the interests of the student, in discussion with supervisors, and according to the skillset the student would like to develop (e.g. mathematical modelling of transmission, within-host modelling, statistical analysis, mapping). Example project titles could be: (1) Will artemisinin resistance evolve independently in Africa? (2) The spatial spread of drug-resistant malaria and implications for strategies to prevent resistance, or (3) Chemoprevention strategies against malaria which minimise resistance spread. The student will join the malaria research group which currently numbers >30 people, and will benefit from existing collaborations with partners in endemic countries and public health agencies.

How to apply
Applicants should have, or expect to achieve, a Master’s degree or equivalent and a first or upper second-class degree in a relevant subject, and must meet College entry requirements. Relevant subjects include all of those from the quantitative and life sciences – including biology, zoology, genetics, biochemistry, biomedical sciences, economics, mathematics, physics, statistics.
Your application must include a two-page CV and 500-word statement detailing why you would like to apply for this project.
The applications will be shortlisted and, if successful, you will be invited to attend an interview by the relevant department and submit a formal application to the College.
Please submit your application documents to Helen King ( by Midnight, Monday 27 August 2018.

Residence eligibility guidance
To be eligible for tuition fees at the home rate, a student must fulfil all the following criteria. See the fee status page for more information.

  1. Have settled status in the UK, meaning they have no restrictions on how long they can stay.
  2. Been ‘ordinarily resident’ in the UK for three years prior to the start of the studentship. This means they must have been normally residing in the UK (apart from temporary or occasional absences).
  3. Have not been residing in the UK wholly or mainly for the purpose of full-time education (this does not apply to UK or EU nationals).
PhD position
Imperial College London
United Kingdom
Closing date
August 27th, 2018
Posted on
August 14th, 2018 15:10
Last updated
August 14th, 2018 15:10