An epidemiologist's life on the edge (of the science-policy interface)

CEE-ZSL Julian Huxley Memorial Lecture by Professor Christl Donnelly FMedSci FRS, Imperial College London


Ebola, MERS, pandemic influenza, SARS and Zika have all posed serious threats to our health and economic wellbeing in recent years. In each of these cases, statistical (and more broadly mathematical) epidemiologists contributed to top-level policy discussions of diseases control policy development, implementation and contingency planning. The methods build upon foundations of epidemiological modelling and analysis of both human and animal diseases (HIV/AIDS, BSE, vCJD, bovine TB and foot-and-mouth disease, among others). The potential impact of such analyses is enormous, but it can be challenging to provide robust answers to key scientific and policy questions. In the midst of an epidemic response effort, it really does feel like living on the edge.

Professor Christl Donnelly FMedSci, FRS is a statistician and epidemiologist studying the spread and control of infectious diseases, with a particular interest in outbreaks. Since 2000, she has worked at Imperial College London. Christl has studied Zika virus, Ebola, MERS, influenza, SARS, bovine TB, foot-and-mouth disease, rabies, dengue, BSE/vCJD, malaria and HIV/AIDS (among others!). She is a leading member of the WHO Ebola Response Team (2014-). She was also deputy chair of the Independent Scientific Group on Cattle TB (1998-2007) which designed, oversaw and analysed the Randomised Badger Culling Trial. In addition to epidemiology and disease control, she is interested in conservation and animal welfare. She is an Honorary Fellow of the Zoological Society of London and recently received a Suffrage Science award

The Julian Huxley Memorial Lecture is an annual event organised jointly by the Centre for Ecology and Evolution, based at UCL, and the Zoological Society of London.  The lecture is given by leading scientists in ecology, evolution and the environment and aims to celebrate research collaborations between CEE and ZSL.

Attending this event

  • This is free to attend, open to all, and booking is not required.

  • Venue: Lankester Lecture Theatre, Medawar Building, University College London, Gower Street, WC1E 6BT.  See map

  • Seats are allocated on a first-come-first-served basis.

  • For more information visit

  • For all enquiries contact Chris Langridge,

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