skip to content

Cambridge Global Food Security

An Interdisciplinary Research Centre at the University of Cambridge


James Wood is Head of the Department of Veterinary Medicine. He is a veterinary epidemiologist and joined the Department in Cambridge in 2005, initially as Director of the Cambridge Infectious Diseases Consortium, prior to appointment as Alborada Professor of Equine and Farm Animal Science in 2009. He studies the dynamics of emerging infectious diseases, including viral infections of fruit bats in West Africa, focused in Ghana, mammalian influenza, rabies and bovine tuberculosis. Funders include BBSRC, EU FP7 (Antigone Consortium), ESPA, Defra, the RAPIDD program of the Science and Technology Directorate, Department of Homeland Security, Fogarty International Centre, National Institute of Health and the Alborada Trust. 


My research interests focus on the dynamic processes represented in all infectious diseases, at scales from the cellular and sub-cellular through to the more traditionally studied epidemiological scales of the population and metapopulation. Mathematical modelling and more traditional epidemiological approaches are combined with detailed molecular studies of pathogen and host in a multidisciplinary framework. All studies of any infection must also consider the ecology of the host as well as of the infection itself and its pathogenesis.

I have particular interests in the epidemiological dynamics of various virus infections of humans and other animals, including influenza, African horse sickness, canine rabies and emergent lyssavirus and henipavirus infections and the methods needed to study them. Bovine tuberculosis poses interesting challenges at the interface of science and policy and is an important disease and challenge. Funded studies include the emergence of zoonotic viruses, especially in Africa, transmission dynamics of mammalian influenza viruses and their variants through natural hosts and rabies dynamics. I co-supervise several students working on the dynamics of emergent viral infections in bats, in particular Eidolon helvum, in Ghana.

In addition to my research interests, I am also involved in the Cambridge-Africa programme, which focuses on building links between Cambridge and  African Institutions and which aims to strengthen Africa's own capacity for a sustainable research (


Key publications: 

Emerging Infectious Diseases

  • Lo Iacono, G., Cunningham, A.A., Fichet-Calvet, E., Garry, R.F., Grant, D.S., Khan, S.H., Leach, M., Moses, L.M., Schieffelin, J.S., Shaffer, J.G., Webb, C.T., Wood, J.L.N (2014) Using modelling to disentangle the relative contributions of zoonotic and anthroponotic transmission: the case of Lassa fever. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases 9:e3398
  • Luis, A.D., Hayman, D.T.S., O’Shea, T.J., Cryan, P.M., Turmelle, A., Pulliam, J.R.C., Mills, J.M., Timonin, M., Willis, C., Cunningham, A.A. Fooks, A.R., Rupprecht, C., Wood, J.L.N. and Webb, C.T. (2013) A comparison of bats and rodents as reservoirs of zoonotic viruses: Are bats special? Proc Roy Soc B 280 (1756): 20122753
  • Peel, A.J., Sargan, D.R., Baker, K.S.,  Hayman, D.T.S., Barr, J.A., Crameri, G., Suu-Ire, R.D., Broder, C.C., Lembo, T., Wang, L.F., Fooks, A.R., Rossiter, S.J., Wood, J.L.N.* & Cunningham, A.A.* Continent-wide panmixia of an African fruit bat facilitates transmission of potentially zoonotic viruses Nature Communications 4 2770 | DOI: 10.1038/ncomms3770
  • Bovine TB
  • Conlan, A.J.K., Brooks-Pollock, E., McKinley, T.J., Mitchell, A., Jones, G.J., Vordemeier, M. & Wood, J.L.N. (2015) Potential benefits of cattle vaccination as a supplementary control for bovine tuberculosis. PLoS Comp Bio e1004038
  • Brooks Pollock, E., Conlan, A.J.K., Mitchell, A.P., Blackwell, R., McKinley, T.J. & Wood, J.L.N. (2013) Age-dependent patterns of bovine tuberculosis in cattle. Veterinary Research 44 97 doi:10.1186/1297-9716-44-97 
  • Godfray, H.C.J., Donnelly, C.A., Kao, R.R., Macdonald, D.W., McDonald, R.A., Petrokofsky, G., Wood, J.L.N., Woodroffe, R., Young, D.B., McLean, A.R. (2013) A restatement of the natural science evidence base relevant to the control of bovine tuberculosis in Great Britain. Proc R Soc B 280: 20131634. htt0070://
  • Influenza and others
  • Murcia, P.R., Baillie, G.J., Stack, J., Jervis, C., Elton, D., Mumford, J.A., Daly, J., Kellam, P., Grenfell, B.T., Holmes, E.C. & Wood, J.L.N. (2013) Evolution of equine influenza virus in vaccinated horses. Journal of Virology  87 4768-4771
  • Morters, M., McKinley, T.J., Horton, D.L., Cleaveland, S., Schoeman, J.P., Restif, O., Whay, HR., Goddard, A., Fooks, A.R., Damriyasa, I.M. & Wood, J.L.N. (2014) Achieving population-level immunity to rabies in free-roaming dogs in Africa and Asia PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases in press
  • Murcia, P.R., Hughes, J., Battista, P. Lloyd, L. Baillie, G.J., Ramirez-Gonzalez, R.H., Ormond, D., Oliver, K., Elton, D., Mumford, J.A., Caccamo, M., Kellam, P., Grenfell, B.T., Holmes, E.C. & Wood, J.L.N. (2012) Evolution of an Eurasian avian-like influenza virus in naïve and vaccinated pigs. PLoS Pathogens 8(5): e1002730
  • Grenfell, B.T., Pybus, O.G., Gog, J.R., Wood, J.L.N., Daly, J.M. Mumford, J.A. & Holmes, E.C. (2004) Unifying the epidemiological and evolutionary dynamics of pathogens. Science 303, 327-332 [PubMed]
Alborada Professor of Equine and Farm Animal Science
Head of Department of Veterinary Medicine
Professor James  Wood
Not available for consultancy


Departments and institutes: 
Person keywords: 
invasion of new or recurrent animal and plant disease
infectious diseases

Members Sorted by Specialty

Plant Biology

Food Lanscapes

Infectious Diseases


Political Economy

Global Governance

Supply Chains

Land Resources

Food and Health


Apply for Membership


Cambridge researchers with relevant research or interests can become members of the network. If you are not a Cambridge researcher we'd be happy to send you our monthly newsletter.

Read more >