International Child Health

I am the lead investigator for the DIVERGE Consortium, which is carrying out whole genome sequencing of Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) samples from sites in six low and middle income countries worldwide. Our paper in Vaccine  looking at the limited currently available data demonstrated a considerable degree of variability in the RSV F protein epitopes targeted by the human immune response. In order to fill this knowledge gap,  our NIAID funded project aims to improve our understanding of the phylogeographic dynamics of viral infection, transmission and evolutionary variability in the run up to the likely introduction of immunisation programs. In September 2019, in conjunction with the Fogarty International Centre (part of NIH) and NIAID I helped to organise a workshop examining the implications of RSV genomic variability for upcoming immunisation programs; we published an editorial addressing the key points from this meeting in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine.

Previously, working with Professor Harry Campbell at the Usher Institute for Population Health Sciences and Informatics, I carried out systematic reviews related to child health in the developing world, examining caregiver recognition of childhood illness, and the epidemiology of neonatal sepsis.

Epidemiology and Clinical Practice

I am the author of a widely cited review concerned with the nutrition of extremely preterm infants, and as member of the  British Association of Perinatal Medicine Working Group on the Use of Donor Human Milk (DHM) published a systematic review examining the impact of the use of DHM on maternal breastfeeding rates. I am also a Board Member for the Epidemiology Section of the European Society for Paediatric Research (ESPR); you can read our review on the use of Directed Acyclic Graphs in causal inference here.

Human Evolution

My undergraduate dissertation applied Niche Construction Theory to the first hominin expansion from Africa (‘Out of Africa 1’) in the Lower Palaeolithic ca 1.8 million years ago. Subsequent to this I discussed the evolutionary implications of Corticobasal Degeneration, a progressive neurological disorder that affects the ability to perform transitive movements. Most recently, at a NERC funded workshop, I examined whether prematurity may be a Predictive Adaptive Responsive to adverse early life conditions, a topic covered in papers I have published in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, Archives of Disease in Childhood, and BMC Pediatrics.

Science and Society

I am a contributor to the Dublin Review of Books , the LSE Review of Books, and the San Francisco Review of Books. I have written essays on our current understanding of genomics, gene editing technologies, the role of science in shaping moral values, big data and the role of metrics in Global Health. I am a trustee for a charity called Reaching the Unreached , a grassroots organisation working in rural villages in South India. I am also the Tibetan Music Reviewer for Songlines World Music Magazine.