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Professor Sunetra Gupta

Research Interests

My main area of interest is the evolution of diversity in pathogens, with particular reference to the infectious disease agents that are responsible for malaria, influenza and bacterial meningitis. I use simple mathematical models to generate new hypotheses regarding the processes that determine the population structure of these pathogens. I work closely with laboratory and field scientists both to develop these hypotheses and to test them.

Other Interests

I have an interest in the public understanding of science and also in the connections between science and literature at the level of language and narrative (see ).

Contact details


Phone: +44 (0) 1865 281225


Selected Publications

  • Ashby B & Gupta S (2013) Sexually transmitted infections in polygamous mating systems. Phil Trans R Soc B: 368(1613):20120048. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2012.0048.
  • Piel, F.B., Hay, S.I., Gupta, S., Weatherall, D.J. & Williams, T.N. (2013) Global burden of sickle cell anaemia in children under five, 2010–2050: modelling based on demographics, excess mortality, and interventions. PLoS Medicine, 10(7): e1001484. doi: doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.100148.
  • Recker, M., Pybus, O.G., Nee, S. & Gupta, S. (2007) The generation of influenza outbreaks by a network of host immune responses against a limited set of antigenic types. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 104:7711-7716.
  • Recker M et al (2004) Transient cross-reactive immune responses can orchestrate antigenic variation in malaria. Nature 429:555-558.
  • Gupta S et al (1999) Immunity to severe malaria is acquired after one or two exposures. Nature Medicine 5:340-343
  • Ferguson, N., Anderson, R.M. & Gupta, S. (1999) The effect of antibody dependent enhancement on the transmission dynamics and persistence of multiple strain pathogens. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA 96: 790-794
  • Gupta, S., Ferguson, N. & Anderson, R.M. (1998) Chaos, persistence and the evolution of strain structure in populations of antigenically variable infectious agents. Science 240:912-915.
  • Buckee CO et al (2008) Role of selection in the emergence of lineages and the evolution of virulence in Neisseria meningitidis. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA (39):15082-7.
  • Gupta, S et al (1996) The maintenance of strain structure in populations of recombining infectious agents. Nature Medicine 2(4): 437-442.
  • Gupta, S., Trenholme, K. Anderson, R.M. & Day, K.P. (1994) Antigenic diversity and the transmission dynamics of Plasmodium falciparum. Science 263, 961-963.
  • Anderson, R.M., Gupta, S. & May, R.M. (1991) Potential of community-wide chemotherapy or immunotherapy to control the spread of HIV-1. Nature 350: 356-359.
  • Gupta, S., Anderson, R.M. & May, R.M. (1989) Networks of sexual contacts: implications for the pattern of spread of HIV. AIDS 3: 807-817.