Contact details


Social media: @RobinNThompson      

Role: Stipendiary Lecturer


Dr Robin Thompson


I am a stipendiary lecturer in Applied Mathematics at LMH. I studied maths as an undergraduate at Worcester College in Oxford, and I completed my PhD in Mathematical Biology at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge.

Research interests

My research involves building and analysing mathematical models to inform strategies for controlling infectious diseases. I develop mathematical modelling theory, and apply it to address previously unanswered epidemiological questions. I parameterise my models using statistical estimation techniques such as Markov chain Monte Carlo and Approximate Bayesian Computation. Recently, I have been investigating whether or not it is possible to make predictions about how an infectious disease outbreak will advance soon after the first infected individuals exhibit symptoms. I use Ebola as a case study, since initial cases do not always lead to a major outbreak.

I am also interested in HIV, and how it evolves within infected hosts. Because of within-host mutations, the strains that infect an individual are not necessarily the same as those that the host goes on to transmit. I have been building a framework for predicting which strains of HIV are most likely to be transmitted. Understanding within-host evolution and between-host transmission is useful for designing successful vaccines.

Although the work described here is about Ebola and HIV, the conclusions from most of my work are applicable to a range of diseases in humans, animals and plants. If you would like to find out more, please get in touch!


I am currently teaching first year Geometry, and second year courses in Differential Equations I, Differential Equations II, Mathematical Biology, Integral Transforms, Fluid Dynamics and Waves, Numerical Analysis and Calculus of Variations.



Mathematics and Statistics

Mathematics and Philosophy

Selected publications

  • Kraemer, M.U.G., Faria, N.R., Reiner Jr., R.C., Golding, N., Nikolay, B., Stasse, S., Johansson, M.A., Salje, H., Faye, O., Wint, G.R.W., Niedrig, M., Shearer, F.M., Hill, S.C., Thompson, R.N., Bisanzio, D., Taveira, N., Nax, H.H., Pradelski, B.S.R., Nsoesie, E.O., Murphy, N.R., Bogoch, I.I., Khan, K., Brownstein, J.S., Tatem, A.J., de Oliveira, T., Smith, D.L., Sall, A., Pybus, O.G., Hay, S.I. and Cauchemez, S., Spread of Yellow Fever Virus outbreak in Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo 2015-2016: a modelling study. In press, Lancet Inf. Dis.
  • Thompson, R.N., Gilligan, C.A. and Cunniffe, N.J. Detecting presymptomatic infection is necessary to forecast major epidemics in the earliest stages of infectious disease outbreaks, PLoS Comp. Biol., 12(4):e1004836, 2016
  • Thompson, R.N., Cobb, R.C., Gilligan, C.A. and Cunniffe, N.J. Management of invading pathogens should be informed by epidemiology rather than administrative boundaries, Ecol. Model., 324:28-32, 2016
  • Thompson, R.N., Yates, C.A. and Baker, R.E., Modelling cell migration and adhesion during development, Bull. Math. Biol., 74(12):2793-2809, 2012
  • Tappin, S.J., Howard, T.A., Hampson, M.M., Thompson, R.N. and Burns, C.E., On the autonomous detection of coronal mass ejections in heliospheric imager data, J. Geophys. Res., 117(A5):A05103, 2012