Professor Sarah RandolphAlumna
Prof. Sarah Randolph (retired) contributed to the creation of SEEG.
As blood-sucking parasites and vectors of a huge number and diversity of pathogens, ticks impose huge economic burdens where they can be least afforded. The unique biology of ticks exacerbates the complex dynamics common to all vector-borne disease systems, whose epidemiological outcome depends on the precise biological interactions between vectors, hosts and transmitted parasites, and the impact of environmental factors on these interactions.
In Prof. Randolph's work on ticks and tsetse, her objectives have always been to understand the real biological complexity of these systems, first empirically in both the field and laboratory, and then capturing its essence in quantitative language to explain, and thereby predict, broad-scale patterns in the spatially and temporally variable risk of infection.
The Oxford Tick Research Group (OTRG) and Professor David Rogers' Trypanosomiasis and Land Use in Africa (TALA) pioneered a unique approach to using satellite imagery in biological process-based epidemiology. The output of the groups' models, predictive risk maps, may be used simply as a source of information for applied purposes, but more excitingly as a framework to define new questions concerning fundamental ecological and evolutionary processes. Latterly Prof. Randolph added a new strand, human socio-economic factors, to explanations of the epidemiology of tick-borne diseases.