Professor Chris Gilligan

Chair at School of the Biological Sciences, University of Cambridge

Professor of Mathematical Biology, Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge

Professor Chris Gilligan is Head of the Epidemiology and Modelling Group in the Department of Plant Sciences. The main research focus of the group is the analysis of factors that influence and control the invasion, persistence and variability of plant diseases and other organisms.

His current experimental programme studies the spatial and temporal dynamics of both beneficial and pathogenic, soil-borne, micro-organisms, and uses these as model experimental microcosms of larger-scale systems in the field.

The applications of this research include

  • Interpreting and minimising the risk of failure of biological and chemical technique for the control of plant diseases
  • Formulating and testing models for soil biodiversity and saprotrophic dynamics

His group’s theoretical work uses a range of mathematical and statistical techniques to analyse plant disease epidemics, in particular linking theory with data from experiments and observational studies in order to test models that will be used to help in controlling epidemics.

While most of his work is focused on plant disease in agricultural, horticultural, plantation and natural environments, his theories extend to other systems. Topics for study include the control of plant disease to minimise risk of resistance breakdown; control of antibiotic and pesticide resistance for plant and animal diseases; spread of genetically modified crops; and invasion of new or recurrent animal and plant diseases.

In addition to his role at the University, Professor Gilligan is also President for the British Society of Plant Pathology and a Fellow of King’s College, Cambridge.

  • 11 February 2020, 5:30pm

    CSaP Annual Lecture: Professor Dame Sally Davies

    The 2020 CSaP Annual Lecture will be delivered by Professor Dame Sally Davies, Master of Trinity College, Cambridge and former Chief Medical Officer for England and Chief Medical Advisor to the UK Government.

  • 13 November 2017, 4:30pm

    Science and the future of Democracy

    The Cambridge Institute for Public Policy, the Centre for Science and Policy, and Churchill College are working together to launch a new programme on science and the future of democracy.