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Department of Veterinary Medicine

Cambridge Veterinary School

Quantitative tools for One Health research in infectious diseases

I lead a diverse, multi-disciplinary team working on a range of infectious diseases within a One Health framework. We use mathematical and statistical models to design, analyse and interpret empirical studies of infectious disease dynamics. I collaborate with microbiologists who study bacterial infections in the laboratory, and with ecologists who track diseases in wildlife.

My research has three main areas:

  1. Zoonotic disease ecology and epidemiology
  2. Within-host dynamics of bacterial infectious
  3. Mapping multi-drug resistance in bacteria


  • Engineering Degree, Ecole Polytechnique 1999
  • Master's Degree in Ecology, Universite Paris VI 2000
  • PhD in Ecology, Universite Paris VI 2000-2003, supervised by Prof. Jacob Koella
  • Royal Society University Research Fellowship 2008-2016
  • Alborada Lecturer in Epidemiology 2013-2019
  • Alborada Associate Professor in Eipdemiology since 2020


1. Zoonotic disease ecology and epidemiology.

The emergence of new viruses from bats in the last 30 years has drawn the attention of a broad scientific community to the ecology and immunology of this diverse group of mammals. We have established a successful international collaboration with Ghana and Australia to study fruit bats, their ecology, their viruses and their interactions with people. My team also investigates some of the challenges posed by zoonotic and emerging diseases (e.g. rabies, hemorrhagic fevers and COVID-19) in low-and-middle-income countries.

Team members: Elisa Fesce, Imogen Lindsley, Elinor Joax, Rakesh Chand, Liza Hadley.

Collaborators: Raina Plowright (Montana State University), Andrew Cunningham (Institute of Zoology), Freya Jephcott (Centre for the Study of Existential Risk), Richard Suu-Ire (University of Ghana), Alison Peel (Griffith University).

2. Within-host dynamics of bacterial infections.

Laboratory animal models provide important data on the dynamics of bacterial infection inside a living organism, but observations are limited. Using mathematical models, my aim is to extract as much information as possible from experimental data to make inference about the unobserved processes that drive the spatiotemporal dynamics of bacteria. In particular, I try to assess variations in the replication and death rates of bacteria, and their spread within and among tissues.

Team members: Myrto Vlazaki, Ido Ben-Zvi.

My work covers several bacterial pathogens thanks to a fantastic network of collaborators:

- Salmonella enterica, with Andrew Grant and Piero Mastroeni (in this Department), Dirk Bumann (Basel University), Emma Slack and Wolf Hardt (ETH Zurich).

- Bordetella bronchiseptica, with Eric Harvill (University of Georgia) and Monica Cartelle Gestal (Louisiana State University).

- Optimal experimental design, with David Price (University of Melbourne)

Funding: BBSRC, MRC.


3. Mapping multi-drug resistance in bacteria.

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a major threat to human and animal health. Multi-drug resistance is a particular concern, and is increasingly reported using genetic (sequencing) or phenotypic (growth inhibition assay) tools. However, analysing and interpreting these complex datasets requires sophisticated and ofter tailor-made computational techniques. We are investigating the epidemiology and evolution of multi-drug resistance in pathogenic, commensal and zoonotic bacterial pathogens in farm animals.

Team members: Andrew Balmer, Ruchita Balasubramanian.

Collaborators: Mark Holmes, Lucy Weinert (Cambridge), Jose Vazquez-Boland (Edinburgh).



Key publications: 

Google Scholar profile

Teaching and Supervisions

Research supervision: 
  • Post-docs
    • Elisa Fesce (2021-2023)
    • Elinor Jax (2019-2023)
    • Aaron Morris (2018-2020)
    • Michael Bateman (2015-2017)
    • Romain Garnier (2015-2017)
    • David Price (2015-2017)
    • Anaid Diaz (2012-2016)
    • Alison Peel (2012)
  • PhD students
    • Liza Hadley (2020-2023)
    • Rakesh Chand (2020-2023)
    • Andrew Balmer (2018-2022)
    • Myrto Vlazaki (2017-2020)
    • Ed Lam (2016-2020)
    • Emma Glennon (2016-2020)
    • Alexandra Kamins (2009-2012)
  • MPhil students
    • Imogen Lindsley (2021-2022)
    • Ido Ben Zvi (2020-2021)
    • Ruchita Balsubramanian (2020-2021)
    • John Huber (2017-2018) 
    • Eric Mooring (2013-2014)
    • David Bradley (2014)
    • Lisanne Rens (2012)
    • Alice Wright (2011)

Other Professional Activities

Dr Olivier  Restif
Alborada Associate Professor in Epidemiology
Director of Studies (NST Biology) at Robinson College

Contact Details

Email address: 
+44 (0)1223 764963
Takes PhD students
Available for consultancy


Local Affiliations: 
Person keywords: 
Antibiotic resistance
Bayesian Methods
Mathematical modelling
Salmonella enterica
Host-Pathogen Interaction
Antimicrobial resistance
Infectious disease dynamics
Disease Ecology
Evolutionary biology
National Science Foundation
Royal Society
The Alborada Trust
Medical Research Council
Biosciences and Biotechnology Research Council