• Developing new epidemic theory on the spread of pests and diseases.
  • Building disease forecasting systems for crop pests and pathogens.
  • Performing climate change risk assessments for numerous pests and pathogens of importance to the Scottish economy.
  • I am a key staff member leading Integrated Pest and Disease Management (IPM) research at the James Hutton Institute. For details of ongoing IPM research areas and projects, please visit the IPM@hutton website.
  • I am leader of a project under the Scottish Government Strategic Research Programme Theme A (Plant and Animal Health), Topic Line A1 (Plant Disease).

Core skills

My research involves analysis of spatial and spatiotemporal patterns in epidemiological data, and development of computer models to help us better understand and predict the spread of pests and diseases. I have a background in theoretical epidemiology and landscape ecology, with extensive experience in quantitative research methods and spatiotemporal epidemic simulation. My specialist skills include ArcGIS, machine learning, and the modelling of abiotic and biotic dispersal processes.

Grants and awards

  • 2022-2027: Principal Investigator – ‘Understanding the prinicpal drivers of pest and disease incidence, severity, and spread in Scotland, and the factors currently limiting effective disease control’ – Scottish Government RESAS.
  • 2021-2023: Principal Investigator – ‘Machine-Cast: A scalable machine learning framework for forecasting risk of crop pests and pathogens’ – Innovate UK.
  • 2021-2022: Principal Investigator – ‘Modelling the spread of PCN in Scotland to identify the key factors responsible and
    the most appropriate management options for future mitigation’ – Plant Health Centre.
  • 2020-2023: Investigator – ‘Building a Decision Support Tool for Potato Blackleg Disease (DeS-BL)’ – BBSRC.
  • 2018-2022: Principal Investigator – ‘Applications of machine learning to identify drivers of Phytophthora infestans population diversity’ – Mylnefield Trust.
  • 2018-2022: Principal Investigator – ‘Applications of machine learning to precision potato blackleg prediction’ – AHDB Potatoes.
  • 2017-2019: Principal Investigator – ‘Spatiotemporal analyses of potato late blight outbreaks in Great Britain’ – AHDB Potatoes.
  • 2015-2018: Investigator – ‘Optimised detection and control of potato blight: sensing pathogens to inform smart spray decisions’ – Innovate UK.
  • 2015-2018: Investigator – ‘BLIGHTSENSE: Development of a rapid biosensor system for in-field detection of potato late blight pathogens’ – Innovate UK.
  • 2014-2016: Principal Investigator – ‘Improved epidemic management using sophisticated models of infection and spread’ – AHDB/PCL.
  • 2014-2015: Investigator – ‘CropForecast’ – Technology Strategy Board: Solving business problems with environmental data.
  • 2013-2016: Investigator – ‘Strategies for integrated deployment of host resistance and fungicides to sustain effective crop protection’ – BBSRC.
  • 2013-2016: Investigator – ‘An investigation into the routes of blackleg contamination of high grade potato seed stocks by Pectobacterium species and the effects of sulphuric acid treatment on pathogen spread’ – AHDB/PCL.
  • 2013-2015: Principal Investigator – ‘Future environmental and geographic risks of key crop pests and pathogens in Scotland’ – ClimateXChange.

Past research

  • Kansas State University, USA, 2009-2012. Research Associate. Department of Plant Pathology / Division of Biology:
  • Wageningen University, The Netherlands, 2009. PhD in Epidemiology. Dissertation: ‘Multi-scale modeling of potato late blight epidemics.’
  • Wageningen University, The Netherlands, 2003. Marie-Curie Research Fellowship in Epidemiology.
  • Edinburgh University, Scotland, UK, 2002.BTechnol. (Hons) In Environmental Protection and Management.


Books / chapters

Technical / contract reports

Conference papers

Conference posters / abstracts