Imperial College London

World-leading epidemiologist elected Fellow of the Royal Society

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Professor Christl Donnelly

Imperial's Professor Christl Donnelly, a world-leading statistical epidemiologist, has been elected as a new Fellow of the Royal Society.

She joins the ranks of the UK’s most eminent scientists as part of the 2016 election of 50 new fellows (and 10 new foreign fellows). She is now permitted to use the letters FRS after her name.

I have been extremely fortunate over the years to work with amazing colleagues and collaborators. Most rewarding were the opportunities to undertake work informing policymakers on diseases ranging from BSE and bovine TB to SARS and Ebola.

– Christl Donnelly FRS

Professor of Statistical Epidemiology

Fellowships are given to distinguished scientists by the Royal Society in recognition of "contributions to science, both in fundamental research resulting in greater understanding, and also in leading and directing scientific and technological progress in industry and research establishments."

Professor Donnelly is Professor of Statistical Epidemiology in Imperial’s School of Public Health and she studies the spread and control of infectious diseases. Her research looks at how control measures can change the way in which infectious diseases spread through a population. The ultimate aim of her work is to ensure that the strategies used to combat and control outbreaks of infection are as effective as they possibly can be.

The work she does is driven by the need to answer practical questions - for example, whether culling badgers reduces the incidence of bovine TB in cattle, or how modified mosquitoes can help reduce the risks of dengue fever. She is a leading member of the WHO Ebola Response Team and served as deputy chair of the Independent Scientific Group on Cattle TB, which designed and analysed the Randomised Badger Culling Trial.

Professor Donnelly’s research has been key in a strengthening of the statistical robustness of mathematical modelling – ensuring that the conclusions drawn from such models are more reliable. This has contributed to their increasing employment by governments and public health agencies as they respond to emerging epidemics and plan public health policy.

In addition to providing science-based policy advice, Professor Donnelly also works to improve the public’s understanding of epidemiology and statistics and has interests in ecology, conservation and animal welfare.

Professor Donnelly said, “It is a tremendous honor being elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society.  I have been extremely fortunate over the years to work with amazing colleagues and collaborators.  Most rewarding were the opportunities to undertake work informing policymakers on diseases ranging from BSE and bovine TB to SARS and Ebola.”

Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Professor Gavin Screaton, said: “I am delighted that Professor Donnelly has been elected a Fellow of the Royal Society. Her contributions to her field have been outstanding and this honour is richly deserved.”

Reporter

Sarah Marcus

Sarah Marcus
Communications and Public Affairs

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