Staff biographies

Charlotte Watts PhD

Sigrid Rausing Professor
Director, Social & Mathematical Epidemiology Group

Charlotte WattsCharlotte Watts is founding director of the Gender Violence and Health Centre at LSHTM. An internationally renowned expert on Violence Against Women, and on Gender and HIV, she has more than fifteen years experience in HIV and violence research.

Originally trained as a mathematician, with further training in epidemiology and public health, Charlotte brings a unique, multi-disciplinary perspective to the complex challenge of addressing women’s vulnerability to violence and to HIV, with a strong commitment to drawing upon the multi-disciplinary expertise of GVHC to conduct rigorous, action-oriented research to inform change.

Charlotte has held several senior research and advisory positions, including acting as a Core Research Team member for the WHO Multi-Country Study on Women’s Health and Domestic Violence (1997-present); Chair of the Expert Working Group to Asess the Global Burden of Inter-personal Violence (2009-10); Advisor to the UK Prevalence Study Study of the Mistreatment and Abuse of Older People (2005-9); and Chair of the Public Health Benefits Working Group of the Rockefeller Foundation Microbicide Initiative (2000-2002). She has served on several WHO Expert Consultations on HIV, violence against women, and on microbicides, and was Track C co-chair of the Microbicides 2006 conference.

She regularly gives presentations at national and international meetings, and at LSHTM teaches PhD and MSc students.

Peter Vickerman DPhil

Senior Lecturer

Peter Vickerman is the senior modeller for the HIV Modelling & Economics sub group and the Centre for Research on Drugs and Health Behaviour (Faculty of Public Health and Policy) in which he supervises five other post-doctorate modellers. He has been a senior lecturer since 2007, and is an honorary researcher at the University of Bristol. He has been modelling the transmission of HIV and STI for ten years, and infectious diseases for 16 years. He has published over 40 articles in peer reviewed journals, reviews articles for ten journals, is on the editorial board for a peer-reviewed journal, and has contributed to numerous international advisory groups.

Originally trained as a mathematician, with a D Phil in mathematical epidemiology of Leishmaniasis, his research has focused on the use of mathematical modelling with detailed epidemiological, biological and behavioural data to help understand and explore the transmission of different infectious diseases and the impact and cost-effectiveness of prevention measures.

Specific expertise focuses on modelling the transmission of HIV and other STIs amongst different risk groups and blood borne viruses transmitted between injecting drug users. His research interests include modelling the joint transmission and interaction of different infections (e.g. sexual transmission of HIV and HSV-2 or the transmission of HIV and Hepatitis C amongst injecting drug users) in different settings and exploring how the stage and type of epidemic can affect the impact and cost-effectiveness of different interventions.

Methodological areas of interest include: understanding the implications of behavioural and biological data uncertainty on model impact and cost-effectiveness projections and exploring different methods of handling these uncertainties, especially through the use of Bayesian methods; and trying to understand and accurately model how new interventions affect different aspects of an individual’s risk behaviour and the subsequent transmission of different infections. He has extensive experience of conducting collaborative research with organisations in Asia, sub-Saharan Africa and Eastern Europe, and is the PI on a number modelling projects with the MRC, Wellcome and WHO. He is also the Co-PI on a number of large research initiatives in India and Africa.

He teaches PhD and MSc students, has taught on numerous MSc study units, including lecturing and leading seminars, and has been the course organiser for a decision modelling study unit for the last five years.

Fern Terris-Prestholt PhD

Lecturer in the Economics of HIV


Fern Terris-Prestholt joined HIV Modelling & Economics Research Group in the Department of Global Health and Development in April 2000. She has an MSc in Development Economics from Wageningen University, The Netherlands and a BA from Macalester College in St. Paul, MN, USA. She previously worked on the costs of stroke services in the Netherlands at the Institute for Medical Technology Assessment in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

Fern is the Economic Analysis for Health Policy course organiser and she guest lectures on economic evaluation of reproductive health / HIV interventions on a range of courses both within and outside of LSHTM.

Fern is part of the HIV Modelling & Economics Research Group, a group of economists and mathematical modellers who use modelling and economic analysis to inform HIV/AIDS policy. Her work focuses on the the economics of new technology introduction for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of HIV and related conditions (such as STIs and TB), primarily in low and middle income countries. Her PhD was on the determinants of women’s demand for barrier methods for HIV prevention in South Africa.

Anna Vassall PhD

Lecturer in the Economics of HIV

Anna Vassall is a health economist with around twenty years experience of applying economic analysis to health planning and management for various national governments and health institutions. She first worked in the NHS supporting funding/contracting. She then took an MSc in Health Planning and Financing at the LSHTM, thereafter working for DFID as a health economist in the UK and Pakistan. This was followed by a period at Royal Tropical Institute (KIT) Amsterdam working on health planning and financing, aid effectiveness and the cost-effectiveness of tuberculosis and reproductive health in a wide range of low and middle income countries. For the last few years, she has been managing European Community and World Bank funded health sector reform and development projects in Yemen, East Timor, Syria and Sudan. Her PhD is in the economic evaluation of tuberculosis control.

Anna’s research interests are in the economic evaluation of HIV (with a focus on integration, scaling-up and systems costs estimation) and aid effectiveness (with a focus on evaluating funding modalities and expenditure tracking). She is a member of the HIV Modelling & Economics group within the LSHTM.

Anna Foss M Math PhD

Lecturer in Mathematical Modelling

Anna Foss joined LSHTM in July 2001 after graduating with a Masters of Mathematics (First Class, with honours) from the University of Manchester. Her final year Masters project was on different applications of mathematical modelling. During the summer of 2000 she worked as a Research Assistant in the Epidemiology Department of the University of Manchester.

Alongside her work at LSHTM, Anna completed a part-time staff-PhD (awarded June 2007), titled: ‘Mathematical modelling of HIV/STI transmission and prevention: methodological issues when dealing with uncertainty’.

In June 2010, Anna was awarded a Distinction for her Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching (Full Certificate – Modules 1 and 2).

Anna is the Course Director for the Faculty of Public Health & Policy component of the Control of Infectious Diseases MSc and the Distance Learning Project Module Organiser for Public Health PGDip/MSc and Health Systems Management PGDip/MSc.

Anna is also a member of the London International Development Centre.

Andrew Paul Cox PhD

Mathematical Epidemiologist

Andy is currently Mathematical Modeller/Epidemiologist based in the HIV Modelling & Economics Research group within the Department of Global Health & Development. His areas of interest are epidemiology, mathematical modelling and molecular biology. More specifically his main interests are centred around modelling the transmission and/or within host dynamics of infectious disease.

Andy completed his doctorate at the University of Edinburgh, Centre for Tropical Veterinary Medicine. The research looked at the effect of the occurrence of low intensity (sub patent or asymptomatic) infections on diagnosis of infection, epidemiological field studies and data analysis, particularly with respect to the potentially large underestimation of prevalence that can occur in such cases. The project focused largely on African trypanosomiasis, although the general principles were found to be applicable to a wider range of pathogens including malaria. During this time the team also developed a couple of new PCR based diagnostic techniques.

Andy takes part in the School’s basic epidemiology and mathematical modelling courses and provides supervision to MSc students.

Holly Prudden MSc

Mathematical Epidemiologist

Holly Prudden graduated with a BSc in Immunology from the University of Bristol in 2005 and in 2009 completed her MSc at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in the Control of Infectious Diseases. In between this time she worked as a project manager for a small NGO based in the UK and working abroad in India, Sri Lanka and Nepal.

Holly teaches on the basic maths module at the school and is involved in the basic epidemiology distance learning module.

Her current role is as a Research Fellow in the mathematical modelling of HIV and STIs working on a project to explore the transmission dynamics of HIV among men who have sex with men (MSM) in a Southern Indian setting.

She has previously worked on projects using mathematical modelling to estimate the impact of a rectal microbicide intervention in Peru and Southern India as well as working on a project to adapt a UNAIDS model to better reflect the potential role that gender may have on the HIV epidemic in Cambodia.

Seema Vyas MSc

Research Fellow in Health Economics

Seema Vyas is a health economist, with a focus on quantitative methods. She has worked with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine for 7 years, initially concentrating on private health sector analysis and the economics of STI and HIV prevention.

She is currently a PhD student in the Department of Global Health & Development and her research focuses on the association between economic factors and intimate partner violence (IPV) in Tanzania. In particular, understanding how economic factors, including women’s financial autonomy and control over resources, influence risk and women’s responses to violence and the impact of IPV on household decision making. She also has an interest in methodological issues and is working with partners in Tanzania to investigate the patterns of physical and sexual violence in intimate partnerships, using the data collected by WHO in Tanzania as part of the multi-country study.

Christine Michaels MDE

Research Fellow


Christine is a Research Fellow with the HIV Modelling & Economics Research Group in the Department of Global Health and Development in the Faculty of Public Health and Policy.

Christine is Deputy Module Organiser for the HS 301 and ID 401 Distance Learning Modules and a Seminar Leader for the Economic Analysis for Health Policy Module.

Carol Dayo Obure MDE

Research Fellow


Carol joined the HIV Modelling & Economics group in June 2009. She holds a Masters in Development Economics from Dalhousie University, Canada and a B.A from University of Saskatchewan, Canada.

Carol is currently working on the economic evaluation of models of integrated HIV and SRH services in Kenya and Swaziland.

Her research interests are in the economic evaluation of integrated HIV and sexual reproductive health interventions in developing countries.

Sudha Chandrashekar MD (MPhil)

Research Fellow in Health Economics

Dr. Sudha Chandrashekar is a MBBS medical doctor (1999) with a Masters degree in Public Health (2003) and stood First Rank for the Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences, Karnataka, India.She worked as Junior Scientific officer in the Department of Epidemiology at the National Institute of Mental Health Sciences, India for a year. She has also been a recipient of Young Scientist award from the Karnataka Association of Community health for her research work in the field of Occupational Medicine.

Sudha further specialised in Industrial Health in 2005. From 2005 she has been working as for the project Monitoring and evaluation of the Avahan project in India: impact assessment and cost-effectiveness analyses using enhanced surveillance methods and mathematical modelling of HIV transmission dynamics, which is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. She also holds a Masters degree in Health economics and Pharmaco-economics from the Pompeu Fabra University Barcelona (2008) which was completed with a scholarship grant from HIV research Trust (UK).

In May 2008 Sudha received Global Health Leadership Award from the Global Health Research Initiative (Canada) to pursue a PhD in Health Economics at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. She is also involved in teaching activities for the MSC Module on Health Economics.

Mike Pickles PhD

Honorary Research Fellow

Mike has been working in the mathematical modelling of infectious diseases since 2006. He is an honorary research fellow at LSHTM, and is also a research associate at Imperial College. He has a PhD in particle cosmology from the University of Cambridge, and afterwards spent 3 years as Resident Lecturer at the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences in South Africa, a capacity‑building programme set up in response to the New Partnership for Africa’s Development Strategic Framework, where he helped to set up the institute and taught a wide range of postgraduate courses.

Mike is involved in the evaluation of the Avahan HIV prevention programme in India, the largest targeted HIV intervention in the world. Using mathematical modelling it is possible to look at how the epidemic would have developed without intervention, and to provide projections of the future course of the epidemic, as well as to evaluate cost‑effectiveness of the intervention. His research interests include HIV and other STIs, as well as more methodological work related to fitting and simplification of mathematical models in epidemiology.

As well as teaching on the basic maths module, Mike is involved with the mathematical modelling courses at the School and the analytical models for decision‑making module.

Natasha Martin DPhil

Honorary Research Fellow

Natasha is a posdoctoral researcher based in the Department of Social Medicine, University of Bristol and the Department of Global Health and Development, LSHTM. She is currently working with Professor Matthew Hickman and Dr. Peter Vickerman on mathematical models of hepatitis C spread amongst injecting drug users.

Natasha completed my DPhil in 2009 at the Centre for Mathematical Biology at Oxford University under the supervision of Professor Philip Maini and Dr. Eamonn Gaffney. Her thesis focused on mathematical models of tumour acidity and invasion.

Previously, during my undergraduate at Stanford University, Natasha researched phenotypic plasticity of barnacle leg lengths with Professor Mark Denny and mathematical models of chronic myelogenous leukemia with Dr. Helen Moore.

Kate Mitchell MSc

Research Fellow in Mathematical Epidemiology

Following a BSc in Microbiology from the University of Edinburgh (awarded in 2004), Kate studied for an MSc in Modern Epidemiology at Imperial College London (awarded in 2006), during which she became interested in using mathematical models to examine host-pathogen interactions at the population level. She returned to Edinburgh to study for a PhD, for which she developed mathematical models describing levels of infection with, and immunity against, the blood fluke Schistosoma haematobium in endemic human populations. These models were used to explore different hypotheses for the slow development of protective immunity in human schistosome infection, and to predict the potential impact of mass chemotherapy programmes upon the development of natural resistance to infection.

Kate has previous experience of teaching and demonstrating for undergraduate courses on statistics and study design, and will be teaching MSc students at the School.

Kate is currently working as a Research Fellow in mathematical modelling of HIV and STIs, based within the Social and Mathematical Epidemiology Group (SaME). I am developing and analysing dynamical models of HIV and STI transmission in Southern India, focussing on transmission within high-risk groups (including female sex workers and their clients, and men who have sex with men), and onwards transmission from these core groups to the general population.

Anna Phillips PhD

Research Fellow in Social Epidemiology

Anna Phillips joined LSHTM in July 2010 as a post-doctorate social epidemiologist on the Wellcome funded project that uses mathematical modelling to explore the transmission dynamics of HIV among men who have sex with men in a south Indian setting. This project is a continuation from Anna’s PhD entitled “Sexual behaviour of men who have sex with men and transgenders in Southern India”, completed in January 2009 at Imperial College London. Her primary role involved the monitoring and evaluation element of the sexual behaviour among sexual minorities in Southern India. This analyses and interpretation of the sexual behaviour will continue to input into the development of academic papers and guide the parameters of the model to be developed by the Wellcome project.

Alongside her work at the LSHTM, Anna also works for the Schistosomiasis Control Initiative (SCI) at Imperial College as a programme manager in Francophone West Africa.