Weaving number: Killing mosquitos with maths

Join Professor Tom Churcher, online or in person, for his Imperial Inaugural.

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Mosquitoes are the deadliest animal on the planet. Our greatest weapon against them – the simple bednet. Cheap, easy to distribute and effective, two billion have been supplied across the world and are the leading tool for current malaria control. So how can the global community make fast, effective choices when mosquitoes become resistant to the net’s insecticide?

Tom Churcher is Professor of Infectious Disease Dynamics at Imperial College London whose research focuses on how best to control malaria and other diseases spread by insects. In his inaugural lecture he will explore how mathematical models can helped policy-makers and malaria control programmes make difficult decisions about how best to control the disease. It will showcase the enormous complexity of how people, mosquitoes and the parasite make this disease one of humanity’s greatest killers. He will examine what the lessons can be learnt from the past to help us confront major threats in the future and discuss how decisions can be supported by simplifying things down to equations and numbers.


Tom Churcher is an epidemiologist, entomologist, parasitologist and mathematical modeller working to understand the best way to kill mosquitoes and eliminate vector-borne diseases. His work concentrates on malaria though interests span different parasitic infections as he believes that much can be learnt from drawing parallels between different systems. Working closely with policy-makers and scientists from disease endemic countries he uses mathematical epidemiology to understand the processes governing pathogen transmission and explore how best limited budgets can be used to reduce death and suffering from these deadly diseases.

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