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Benjamin Miller

I am a first year PhD researcher belonging to the MathSys CDT, working on age-structured models for Human African Trypanosomiasis with Dr Kat Rock and Professor Matt Keeling, as part of the HAT MEPP project.

2018-present: PhD Mathematics for Real World Systems (University of Warwick)

Gambiense Human African Trypanosomiasis (HAT) is a vector-borne disease transmitted by tsetse and endemic
to many countries throughout west and central Africa. While the incidence of the disease has sharply decreased
over the last two decades, thanks to the introduction of active screening campaigns and vector control, it still
remains a major health problem.

We already know that both risk of infection and participation in active screening campaigns are drivers of HAT transmission, with evidence to suggest that there is a group of individuals within the greater population who are at higher risk of exposure to tsetse and hence infection. Additionally, this group of people has been found to not participate in active screening campaigns, which further increases their contribution to the spread of the disease.

One vital problem that still remains unanswered is to determine exactly who the people in the “high-risk group” are, and subsequently to quantify the impact that they have on the disease dynamics. We also wish to look into what may happen if this group of people starts turning up to active screening, and whether we will be able to achieve elimination of the disease earlier if these people are prioritised during screening. In order to tackle this, we have started to develop an age-structured extension to the Warwick HAT model, which allows us to set different tsetse contact rates for different subsets of the population, stratified by both age and sex, and look at the impact of changing who participates in active screening. Our ultimate goal is to be able to fit our new model to specific age-structured data, which would allow us to guide policy makers and clinicians in HAT endemic countries into ensuring that their active screening campaigns focus on those in the population who are at greater risk.

2017-2018: MSc Mathematics for Real World Systems (University of Warwick)
Individual project title: "Age-structured models to understand the distribution of infection risk for Human African Trypanosomiasis in the Democratic Republic of Congo".

Supervisors: Dr Kat Rock, Professor Matt Keeling

Research Study Group project title: "Modelling the impact of farmer behaviour on the spread of foot-and-mouth disease in endemic settings".
Supervisors: Dr Mike Tildesley, Dr Nick Lyons (FAO)
2016-2017: MSc Medical Statistics (Lancaster University)
Dissertation title: "Approximate Bayesian Computation for Epidemics."
Supervisor: Professor Peter Neal
2013-2016: BSc Mathematics (Lancaster University)