Research Degree Student
of Epidemiology and Modelling
Rebecca Harris is an MPhil/PhD candidate in TB epidemiology and mathematical modelling on an MRC vaccine scholarship. Her research includes the development of mathematical models to assess the epidemiological impact of potential TB vaccines in China and sub-Saharan Africa, and the development of a novel low-cost app for spatial mapping of TB in low income settings without address systems to support the design of TB vaccine studies and public health programmes.
Rebecca was awarded an MBioch in Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry and an MSc in Global Health from the University of Oxford in 2008 and 2009, respectively. Subsequently, as Technical Officer in the Global Influenza Programme of the World Health Organization, Rebecca developed influenza management guidelines during the H1N1 pandemic. Prior to joining the School, Rebecca worked as a consultant Epidemiology Manager at GlaxoSmithKline Vaccines, developing epidemiological studies within the RTS,S post-approval plan, disease mapping for NTDs, and as lead epidemiologist for tuberculosis.
Rebecca's research focusses on developing mathematical models to estimate the epidemiological impact of promising new TB vaccines in high burden settings, with the goal of informing development of candidates with the greatest potential public health impact. Current work includes estimating future epidemiological changes in the Chinese TB epidemic and the potential impact of vaccines targetted to older adults or the elderly in this setting. Future work will include modelling vaccine impact in settings with high HIV-TB co-infection.
To further support epidemiological needs in TB vaccine research, she has developed a spatial mapping app that can be used in clinical trial design and as part of public health programmes: TB ePAL (electronic PArticipant Locator). TB ePAL is a clinic-based tool to collect the location of a patient's place of residence in highly populous settings without addresses. The app is designed to be an easy to implement, low cost, and low resource alternative to GPS collection at the patient's home. The app has been designed and implemented through the MLW research centre in Blantyre, Malawi as part of the Hit TB Hard programme.
Rebecca is part of the TB modelling team, the steering committee for the TB Centre, and is involved with the Vaccine Centre and the Centre for the Mathematical Modelling of Infectious Diseases.