Dr Robin Thompson

Maths / Biological Sciences
Junior Research Fellow


MMath (University of Oxford), PhD (University of Cambridge) .

Academic Background

I studied Maths at Worcester College in Oxford as an undergraduate from 2007-2011. I then undertook a PhD in Mathematical Epidemiology from 2011-2015 at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, with Dr Nik Cunniffe and Prof Chris Gilligan. Since then I have been back in Oxford, first as a postdoc and now as a JRF at Christ Church.

Undergraduate Teaching

I have tutored a number of topics on the Mathematics degree in Oxford, and I have supervised and lectured on the Natural Sciences Tripos in Cambridge.

For more details, see the teaching page of my personal website

Research Interests

My research involves mathematical modelling of the spread and control of infectious disease outbreaks. This includes both theoretical work and applications to epidemics in humans, animals and plants.

For an example of my theoretical work, I am currently using a probabilistic modelling framework to investigate when the optimal time is to introduce control of a newly invading outbreak. Early control can be beneficial since the outbreak might be suppressed before sweeping through the population. However, later control carries the advantage that it allows disease transmission parameters to be estimated more accurately and interventions to be optimised. Deciding when to initiate control is therefore an “optimal stopping problem”, and involves balancing the benefits of waiting against the potential costs of the disease becoming widespread.

I am always keen to collaborate on new projects, so if working together also interests you then please get in touch!


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 (2016) PLoS Comp. Biol., 12:e1004836.

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 (2016) Ecol. Model., 324:28-32.

For a full list of publications, please visit www.robin-thompson.co.uk


Cricket, music