Ben Ashby (PI)

NERC Independent Research Fellow
Mathematical Sciences & the Milner Centre for Evolution

Ben Ashby

I am a mathematical biologist interested in the ecology and (co)evolution of hosts and their parasites. I use mathematical models and simulations to study how parasites spread through populations and evolve traits such as infectivity and virulence, and in turn how this affects the evolution of host traits such as resistance or mating strategies. My research covers a broad range of topics in biology, including the evolution and maintenance of diversity across space and time, sexual selection and reproductive strategies, and niche evolution. In my spare time I enjoy running, hiking and nature photography.

benashbyevo at    –   @bnashby    –   CV   –   Google scholar

Postdoctoral researchers

Cameron Smith

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I am a mathematical biologist who is interested in population dynamics and epidemiology, and applying stochasticity to mathematical models. I will be completing my PhD in developing spatially extended hybrid methods at the University of Bath in early 2021, and am looking forward to getting started with the group in January. Outside of maths, I attempt to play football, enjoy taking walks and singing.

PhD students

Lydia Buckingham

Lydia BuckinghamMy research investigates the ways in which pathogens and their hosts co-evolve to create different age-structured patterns of immune responses in the host. I have just finished my undergraduate degree in Mathematics at Merton College, Oxford, with my Master’s project focusing on the effects of host heterogeneity on the spread of infectious diseases. In my spare time, I enjoy playing the piano and looking after my small flock of sheep.

Yvonne Krumbeck (co-supervised with Tim Rogers)

Yvonne.JPGI am generally interested in eco-evolutionary processes and mathematical modelling of population dynamics. More specifically, I investigate the evolution of sexual reproduction in an ecological context subject to demographic noise. In 2018, I finished my master’s degree in Physics with specialisation in Complex Adaptive Systems at University of Gothenburg, Sweden. The project I have been working on considered an attraction-repulsion model for collective motion including anticipation. Besides maths and programming, I like learning new languages and enjoy hiking, bird watching, or cosy film and board game evenings.

Alistair Pirrie


My research is focused on coevolution between hosts and STIs using mathematical models and computer simulations. I have recently finished my undergraduate degree, (MMath) Mathematics with International Study, at the University of Exeter. During this time I studied at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, where my interest in mathematical biology was sparked. I also completed a research internship at the University of Exeter, where I looked into how the heterogeneity of neuronal cells could be modelled by Hodgkin-Huxley computational models. I spend a lot of my free time kayaking, mountain walking, and swimming.

Jason Wood

poss_profI am interested in using mathematics to help develop our understanding of eco-evolutionary systems, especially using computational methods. My current research investigates the coevolutionary dynamics of systems with three species involved; at the moment I am considering a Host – Parasite – Hyperparasite system. I completed my undergraduate degree in Mathematics and Physics (MMath) at the University of York in 2018 and my Master’s project focused on the swimming of microorganisms. In my spare time I like to read, take latin and ballroom dancing lessons, and play the niche sport of underwater hockey.


Halimubieke Naerhulan (co-supervised with Tamás Székely)


Thesis: “Mating system variation in relation to disease biology in Charadrius plovers“. Defended November 2020.
Now: Teaching Fellow in the Department of Biology & Biochemistry at the University of Bath.

Honorary group members

Herbert ‘Herbie’ Puppington


I joined the pack group in August 2020. I’m still young, but I’m growing fast and will be working hard on my recall skills and house training over the next few months. I have broad research interests and am keen to investigate anything new.

Undergraduate/Master’s students

2020-21 Hettie Chapman: The evolution of sexually transmitted infections to manipulate sperm allocation
2019-20 Tom Griffiths: Incorporating community effects into a model of host-parasite coevolution
2019-20 Tim Coulter: Modelling the effects of restriction modification systems on bacteria-phage population dynamics

Recent collaborators