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Cambridge Global Food Security

An Interdisciplinary Research Centre at the University of Cambridge


Expertise in: - mathematical modelling the spread, detection, evolution and control of crop and tree diseases

Looking for collaborators in: - remote sensing for early detection of disease - using disease modelling in precision agricultural applications


Mathematical modelling of the spread, detection, evolution and control of plant and tree diseases. Theoretical work focuses on modelling disease spread, including stochastic and spatial models. Applied work concentrates on fitting simulation models to pathogen spread data, to understand how detection and control can be optimised, and on developing computational techniques for efficient simulation and parameterisation of spatially-explicit stochastic models at very large spatial scales. 


Key publications: 

Cunniffe, N.J., Cobb, R.C., Meentemeyer, R.K., Rizzo, D.R. and Gilligan, C.A. (2016) Modeling when, where and how to manage a forest epidemic, motivated by sudden oak death in California Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 

Thompson, R.N., Gilligan, C.A. and Cunniffe, N.J. (2016) Detecting presymptomatic infection is necessary to forecast major epidemics in the earliest stages of infectious disease outbreaks PLoS Computational Biology.

Thompson, R.N., Cobb, R.C., Gilligan, C.A. and Cunniffe, N.J. (2016) Management of invading pathogens should be informed by epidemiology rather than administrative boundaries Ecological Modelling

Cunniffe, N.J., Stutt, R.O.J.H., DeSimone, R.E., Gottwald, T.R. and Gilligan, C.A. (2015) Optimising and communicating options for the control of invasive plant disease when there is epidemiological uncertainty PLoS Computational Biology.

Cunniffe N.J., Koskella, B., Metcalf, C.J.E., Parnell, S., Gottwald, T.R. and Gilligan, C.A. (2015) Thirteen challenges in modelling plant diseases Epidemics.

For full list of publications, please see Google Scholar

University Lecturer in Mathematical Biology, Department of Plant Sciences
Dr Nik  Cunniffe

Contact Details

Not available for consultancy


Departments and institutes: 
Person keywords: 
invasion of new or recurrent animal and plant disease
food security
Risk assessment
plant disease modelling
control of antibiotic and pesticide resistance for plant and animal diseases
control of plant disease
infectious diseases
plant disease resistance