Matthew Cairns


Associate Professor
in Epidemiology


Keppel Street
United Kingdom

+44(0)207 958 8104

I am an epidemiologist focusing mainly on malaria. I joined the Medical Research Council (MRC) Tropical Epidemiology Group in 2010.  Prior to joining the TEG I completed a PhD at LSHTM, funded by the MRC and supervised by Paul Milligan. Before my PhD I studied the MSc in Epidemiology at LSHTM, also supported by the MRC. My first degree was in Biological Sciences.


Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology
Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health


Malaria Centre


I mainly teach by Distance Learning, and am co-Module Organiser of EPM301, Epidemiology of Communicable Diseases.  I also teach on a number of MSc modules in London (mainly Statistical Methods in Epidemiology, Extended Epidemiology and related short-courses). 


My research is focused on prevention of malaria in high risk groups (mainly children and pregnant women), primarily through drug-based approaches.

An area of particular interest for several years has been seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC), previously called intermittent preventive treatment in children (IPTc). This is an approach to prevent malaria in children in areas where transmission is highly seasonal, recommended by WHO in 2012:… .  I am particularly interested in how this intervention can be optimised, how it can be adapted to areas with different malaria epidemiology (including areas with less seasonal transmission), and how expanding the age range given SMC might affect its impact on burden and on transmission.  I am also interested in alternative approaches to use drugs to prevent malaria in children, including the used of community-based health workers for case management, ideas developed during my recent MRC Population Health Scientist Fellowship.

I have been involved for some years in research on malaria in pregnancy (MiP), and was the statistician for a large multi-centre study in West Africa of intermittent screening and treatment. Ongoing work on MiP includes estimating the impact of scale-up of the existing policy of intermittent preventive treatment, and exploring ways to maximise the impact of existing tools on the MiP burden.

More broadly, I have been interested for some time in the effectiveness of combined malaria control strategies, to improve the effectiveness of drug-based approaches (and vice versa). Integrated approaches are essential to reducing morbidity and mortality in the areas with the highest malaria burden, as well as in the context of future attempts at malaria elimination.

Research Area
Drug resistance
Disease and Health Conditions
Infectious disease

Selected Publications

Seasonal malaria chemoprevention in an area of extended seasonal transmission in Ashanti, Ghana: an individually-randomised clinical trial.
Tagbor, H.; Antwi, G.D.; Acheampong, P.R.; Bart Plange, C.; Chandramohan, D.; Cairns, M.;
Trop Med Int Health
The performance of a rapid diagnostic test in detecting malaria infection in pregnant women and the impact of missed infections.
Williams, J.E.; Cairns, M.; Njie, F.; Laryea Quaye, S.; Awine, T.; Oduro, A.; Tagbor, H.; Bojang, K.; Magnussen, P.; ter Kuile, F.O.; Woukeu, A.; Milligan, P.; Chandramohan, D.; Greenwood, B.;
Clin Infect Dis
Analysis of Preventive Interventions for Malaria: Exploring Partial and Complete Protection and Total and Primary Intervention Effects.
Cairns, M.; Cheung, Y.B.; Xu, Y.; Asante, K.P.; Owusu-Agyei, S.; Diallo, D.; Konate, A.T.; Dicko, A.; Chandramohan, D.; Greenwood, B.; Milligan, P.;
Am J Epidemiol
Seasonality in malaria transmission: implications for case-management with long-acting artemisinin combination therapy in sub-Saharan Africa.
Cairns, M.E. ; Walker, P.G. ; Okell, L.C. ; Griffin, J.T. ; Garske, T. ; Asante, K.P. ; Owusu-Agyei, S. ; Diallo, D. ; Dicko, A. ; Cisse, B. ; Greenwood, B.M. ; Chandramohan, D. ; Ghani, A.C. ; Milligan, P.J. ;
Malar J
Contrasting benefits of different artemisinin combination therapies as first-line malaria treatments using model-based cost-effectiveness analysis.
Okell, L.C. ; Cairns, M. ; Griffin, J.T. ; Ferguson, N.M. ; Tarning, J. ; Jagoe, G. ; Hugo, P. ; Baker, M. ; D'Alessandro, U. ; Bousema, T. ; Ubben, D. ; Ghani, A.C. ;
Nat Commun
Estimating the potential public health impact of seasonal malaria chemoprevention in African children.
Cairns, M. ; Roca-Feltrer, A. ; Garske, T. ; Wilson, A.L. ; Diallo, D. ; Milligan, P.J. ; Ghani, A.C. ; Greenwood, B.M. ;
Nat Commun
Modelling the protective efficacy of alternative delivery schedules for intermittent preventive treatment of malaria in infants and children.
Cairns, M. ; Ghani, A. ; Okell, L. ; Gosling, R. ; Carneiro, I. ; Anto, F. ; Asoala, V. ; Owusu-Agyei, S. ; Greenwood, B. ; Chandramohan, D. ; Milligan, P. ;
PLoS One
Duration of protection against malaria and anaemia provided by intermittent preventive treatment in infants in Navrongo, Ghana.
Cairns, M.; Carneiro, I.; Milligan, P.; Owusu-Agyei, S.; Awine, T.; Gosling, R.; Greenwood, B.; Chandramohan, D.;
PLoS One
See all Matthew Cairns's Publications