Imperial College London

Joanne P. Webster

Faculty of MedicineSchool of Public Health

Visiting Professor



joanne.webster Website




Medical SchoolSt Mary's Campus





Career summary

Professor Joanne P.  Webster FMedSci

After gaining a double First-class BSc hons, Joanne’s Doctoral  research at the University of Oxford focused on the epidemiology of zoonotic disease within the UK, including initiating novel work on the impact of Toxoplasma gondii on host behaviour and its association with chronic disease across both humans and animals.  After a year working as a Clinical Scientist at the NHS Communicable Disease Surveillance Centre (CDSC), specialising in congenital syphilis amongst babies born in the UK, Joanne returned to the University of Oxford as a postdoctoral Fellow, EPA Cephalosporin Junior Research Fellow (JRF), Lecturer in Infectious Diseases and as a Royal Society University Research Fellow (URF).  During this period, Joanne expanded the scope of her work to encompass global health and tropical field research and disease control across much of Africa and Asia. Joanne accepted a Readership at Imperial College’s Faculty of Medicine in 2003 and was rapidly promoted to a tenured Professorial Chair in Infectious Diseases in 2006.  The key motivation for this move was the unique opportunity to be co-Director of the then newly formed Schistosomiasis Control Initiative (SCI). During this period (2003-2014), these activities provided approximately 300 million anthelminthic preventative chemotherapeutic treatments for children and at-risk adults across sub-Saharan Africa, and were awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize and Medal for International Public Health Impact. SCI was also listed as the top UK charity by ‘Giving what we can’ and in the top two International charities by ‘Give Well’.   In 2013, Joanne became Associate Director of the then newly formed London Centre for Neglected Tropical Disease Research (LCNTDR) to undertake evidence-based research around the design, implementation and evaluation of NTD control and elimination programmes.  In October 2014, Joanne joined the RVC as their Chair in Parasitic Diseases (whilst retaining her Chair (as Hon/Vis) in Infectious Diseases at Imperial) to further expand her One Health research and disease control activities encompassing both human clinical and animal veterinary tropical medicine. Joanne served as Director of the RVC’s Centre for Emerging, Endemic and Exotic Diseases (CEEED) and Head’s their Pathogen Flow in Ecosystems strategic grouping.  In 2022 Joanne became Director of the LCNTDR.

Joanne’s research and disease control activities have been awarded a number of high-profile Prizes, Medals and Recognitions, for example: The CA Wright Medal for Outstanding Contribution to Parasitology (2005); National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of animals in research NC3Rs prize (2007); Queen’s Anniversary Medal for International Public Health Impact (2008); Royal Society of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine/Elsevier Citation Prize (2009); Chalmers Memorial Medal to recognise Outstanding Contribution to Tropical Medicine (2013) from The Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene; Finalist (top three) BBSRC Innovator of the Year for International Impact (2018); named in an International Woman’s Day List of ‘Five Inspirational Women Shaping the Future of International Development’ (2019); elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology (FRSB) (2019);  an ‘Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award for unwavering excellence in their chosen fields’ (2021); was elected as a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences (FMedSci) - an award for medical scientists who are judged by the Academy of Medical Sciences for the “excellence of their science, their contribution to medicine and society and the range of their achievements’’ (2022); Faculty of Medicine’s 25th Anniversary Staff Award Winner for Global Impact Award in recognition of ‘outstanding contribution to global health impact and faculty life at Imperial College London as a Director of the Schistosomiasis Control Initiative (Team category) (2023); selected as UK Collaborative on Development Research (UKCDR) – Case Study Highlight demonstrating Global Impact of UK Research (2023); and awarded The Royal Society Leeuwenhoek Medal for ‘achievements in advancing the control of disease in humans and animals which are caused by parasites in Asia and Africa’ (2023) and Lecture (2024).


Selected Publications

Journal Articles

Berger DJ, Leger E, Sankaranarayanan G, et al., 2022, Genomic evidence of contemporary hybridization between <i>Schistosoma</i> species, PLOS Pathogens, Vol:18, ISSN:1553-7366

Lo NC, Bezerra FSM, Colley DG, et al., 2022, Review of 2022 WHO guidelines on the control and elimination of schistosomiasis., Lancet Infectious Diseases, ISSN:1473-3099

Le Clec'h W, Chevalier FD, Mattos ACA, et al., 2021, Genetic analysis of praziquantel response in schistosome parasites implicates a transient receptor potential channel, Science Translational Medicine, Vol:13, ISSN:1946-6234

Borlase A, Rudge JW, Leger E, et al., 2021, Spillover, hybridization, and persistence in schistosome transmission dynamics at the human-animal interface, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, Vol:118, ISSN:0027-8424

Berger DJ, Crellen T, Lamberton PHL, et al., 2021, Whole-genome sequencing of <i>Schistosoma mansoni</i> reveals extensive diversity with limited selection despite mass drug administration, Nature Communications, Vol:12

Milne G, Webster JP, Walker M, 2020, <i>Toxoplasma gondii</i>: An Underestimated Threat?, Trends in Parasitology, Vol:36, ISSN:1471-4922, Pages:959-969

Milne G, Webster JP, Walker M, 2020, Towards improving interventions against toxoplasmosis by identifying routes of transmission using sporozoite-specific serological tools., Clinical Infectious Diseases, Vol:71, ISSN:1058-4838, Pages:e686-e693

Easton A, Gao S, Lawton SP, et al., 2020, Molecular evidence of hybridization between pig and human Ascaris indicates an interbred species complex infecting humans, Elife, Vol:9, ISSN:2050-084X

Léger E, Borlase A, Fall CB, et al., 2020, Prevalence and distribution of schistosomiasis in human, livestock, and snail populations in northern Senegal: a One Health epidemiological study of a multi-host system., The Lancet Planetary Health, Vol:4, ISSN:2542-5196, Pages:e330-e342

Catalano S, Léger E, Fall CB, et al., 2020, Multihost transmission of Schistosoma mansoni in Senegal, 2015-2018., Emerging Infectious Diseases, Vol:26, ISSN:1080-6040, Pages:1234-1242

Wang W, Yang K, 2020, Schistosomiasis and the Global Goals, New England Journal of Medicine, Vol:382, ISSN:0028-4793, Pages:1575-1576

Jones BP, Norman BF, Borrett HE, et al., 2020, Divergence across mitochondrial genomes of sympatric members of the Schistosoma indicum group and clues into the evolution of Schistosoma spindale, Scientific Reports, Vol:10, ISSN:2045-2322

Deol AK, Fleming FM, Calvo-Urbano B, et al., 2019, Schistosomiasis — assessing progress toward the 2020 and 2025 global goals, New England Journal of Medicine, Vol:381, ISSN:0028-4793, Pages:2519-2528

Wood CL, Sokolow SH, Jones IJ, et al., 2019, Precision mapping of snail habitat provides a powerful indicator of human schistosomiasis transmission, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, Vol:116, ISSN:0027-8424, Pages:23182-23191

Platt RN, McDew-White M, Le Clec'h W, et al., 2019, Ancient Hybridization and Adaptive Introgression of an Invadolysin Gene in Schistosome Parasites, Molecular Biology and Evolution, Vol:36, ISSN:0737-4038, Pages:2127-2142

Chevalier FD, Le Clec'h W, McDew-White M, et al., 2019, Oxamniquine resistance alleles are widespread in Old World <i>Schistosoma mansoni</i> and predate drug deployment, PLOS Pathogens, Vol:15, ISSN:1553-7366

Catalano S, Sene M, Diouf ND, et al., 2018, Rodents as Natural Hosts of Zoonotic <i>Schistosoma</i> Species and Hybrids: An Epidemiological and Evolutionary Perspective From West Africa, Journal of Infectious Diseases, Vol:218, ISSN:0022-1899, Pages:429-433

Lu D-B, Deng Y, Ding H, et al., 2018, Single-sex schistosome infections of definitive hosts: implications for epidemiology and disease control in a changing world, PLOS Pathogens, Vol:14, ISSN:1553-7366

Antonovics J, Wilson AJ, Forbes MR, et al., 2017, The evolution of transmission mode, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, Vol:372, ISSN:0962-8436

Webster JP, Borlase A, Rudge JW, 2017, Who acquires infection from whom and how? Disentangling multi-host and multi-mode transmission dynamics in the 'elimination' era., Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, Vol:372, ISSN:0962-8436

Leger E, Garba A, Hamidou AA, et al., 2016, Introgressed Animal Schistosomes <i>Schistosoma</i> <i>curassoni</i> and <i>S.</i> <i>bovis</i> Naturally Infecting Humans, Emerging Infectious Diseases, Vol:22, ISSN:1080-6040, Pages:2212-2214

Crellen T, Walker M, Cotton JA, et al., 2016, Reduced efficacy of praziquantel against Schistosoma mansoni is associated with multiple-rounds of mass drug administration, Clinical Infectious Diseases, Vol:63, ISSN:1537-6591, Pages:1151-1159

Crellen T, Allan F, David S, et al., 2016, Whole genome resequencing of the human parasite Schistosoma mansoni reveals population history and effects of selection., Scientific Reports, Vol:6, ISSN:2045-2322

Webster JP, Gower CM, Knowles SC, et al., 2016, One health - an ecological and evolutionary framework for tackling Neglected Zoonotic Diseases., Evolutionary Applications, Vol:9, ISSN:1752-4571, Pages:313-333

King KC, Stelkens RB, Webster JP, et al., 2015, Hybridization in Parasites: Consequences for Adaptive Evolution, Pathogenesis, and Public Health in a Changing World, PLOS Pathogens, Vol:11, ISSN:1553-7366

Webster JP, Molyneux DH, Hotez PJ, et al., 2014, The contribution of mass drug administration to global health: past, present and future, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, Vol:369, ISSN:0962-8436

Rudge JW, Webster JP, Lu D-B, et al., 2013, Identifying host species driving transmission of schistosomiasis japonica, a multi-host parasite system, in China, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

Prandovszky E, Gaskell E, Dubey JP, et al., 2011, The neurotropic parasite Toxoplasma gondii increases dopamine metabolism., Plos One, Vol:6

Webster JP, Oliviera G, Rollinson D, et al., 2010, Schistosome genomes: a wealth of information, Trends in Parasitology, Vol:26, ISSN:1471-4922, Pages:103-106

Koukounari A, Gabrielli AF, Toure S, et al., 2007, <i>Schistosoma haematobium</i> infection and morbidity before and after large-scale administration of praziquantel in Burkina Faso, Journal of Infectious Diseases, Vol:196, ISSN:0022-1899, Pages:659-669

Webster JP, 2007, The effect of <i>Toxoplasma gondii</i> on animal behavior:: Playing cat and mouse, Schizophrenia Bulletin, Vol:33, ISSN:0586-7614, Pages:752-756

Kabatereine NB, Brooker S, Koukounari A, et al., 2007, Impact of a national helminth control programme on infection and morbidity in Ugandan schoolchildren, Bulletin of the World Health Organization, Vol:85, ISSN:0042-9686, Pages:91-99

Koukounari, A, Gabrielli, et al., 2007, Urinary schistosomiasis infection and morbidity before and after large-scale administration of praziquantel in Burkina Faso., Journal of Infectious Diseases

Webster JP, Lamberton PHL, Donnelly CA, et al., 2006, Parasites as causative agents of human affective disorders?: The impact of anti-psychotic, mood-stabilizer and anti-parasite medication on <i>Toxoplasma gondii's</i> ability to alter host behaviour, Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, Vol:273, ISSN:0962-8452, Pages:1023-1030

Mathews F, Macdonald DW, Taylor GM, et al., 2006, Bovine tuberculosis (<i>Mycobacterium bovis</i>) in British farmland wildlife:: the importance to agriculture, Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, Vol:273, ISSN:0962-8452, Pages:357-365

Shrivastava J, Qian BZ, Mcvean G, et al., 2005, An insight into the genetic variation of <i>Schistosoma japonicum</i> in mainland China using DNA microsatellite markers, Molecular Ecology, Vol:14, ISSN:0962-1083, Pages:839-849

Webster JP, Hoffman JI, Berdoy M, 2003, Parasite infection, host resistance and mate choice: battle of the genders in a simultaneous hermaphrodite, Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, Vol:270, ISSN:0962-8452, Pages:1481-1485

Woolhouse MEJ, Webster JP, Domingo E, et al., 2002, Biological and biomedical implications of the co-evolution of pathogens and their hosts, Nature Genetics, Vol:32, ISSN:1061-4036, Pages:569-577

Davies CM, Webster JP, Woolhouse MEJ, 2001, Trade-offs in the evolution of virulence in an indirectly transmitted macroparasite, Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, Vol:268, ISSN:0962-8452, Pages:251-257

Berdoy M, Webster JP, Macdonald DW, 2000, Fatal attraction in rats infected with Toxoplasma gondii, Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, Vol:267, ISSN:0962-8452, Pages:1591-1594

Webster JP, Woolhouse MEJ, 1999, Cost of resistance: relationship between reduced fertility and increased resistance in a snail-schistosome host-parasite system, Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, Vol:266, ISSN:0962-8452, Pages:391-396

Hurtig AK, Nicoll A, Carne C, et al., 1998, Syphilis in pregnant women and their children in the United Kingdom: results from national clinician reporting surveys 1994-7., Bmj, Vol:317, ISSN:0959-8138, Pages:1617-1619

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