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Cambridge Biosciences DTP PhD Programme


Department of Plant Services


I did my undergraduate degree at Cambridge in Natural Sciences, which was when I became interested in programming. I gained a Masters in Computational Ecology and Evolution before coming back to Cambridge for a PhD. I'm really interested in the sustainability of agriculture and pursuing global food security. In my spare time, I enjoy climbing, running and kart racing.


Project Title:

Modelling the effects of virus manipulation of host and vector on plant virus disease epidemics

Project Summary:

Plant viruses are a major threat to worldwide food security, and are usually transmitted via insect vectors.

Viruses frequently alter their host plant's phenotype in order to influence vector behaviour and virus acquisition and transmission, but further research is needed to fully understand how this can affect epidemic dynamics, and whether it can be exploited for disease control. Mathematical models have contributed to our current understanding of the effects of virus-induced vector preference, but usually ignore potentially important aspects of vector life history and behaviour, and external abiotic factors. My PhD will address these issues through creation of a series of mathematical models, with the aim of application to agricultural disease control.

Teaching and Supervisions

Research supervision: 

Dr Nik Cunniffe

Staff Photo

Elin Falla

Contact Details

Department of Plant Sciences, Downing Street, Cambridge, CB2 3EA

Job Titles

PhD Student