Dr Rachel Lowe


Associate Professor
/ Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Fellow


Keppel Street
United Kingdom

+44 (0) 20 7958 8229

My research involves understanding how environmental and socio-economic factors interact to determine the risk of disease transmission.  I lead a group of researchers working between the Centre for Mathematical Modelling of Infectious Diseases and the Centre on Climate Change & Planetary Health.

I graduated from the University of East Anglia in 2004 with a First Class BSc (Hons) in Meteorology and Oceanography with a year in Europe. I spent one year at the University of Granada, Spain, reading Environmental Science. In 2007, I completed an MSc with distinction in Geophysical Hazards at University College London (UCL), where I received a UCL Graduate Masters Award. In 2011, I obtained a PhD in Mathematics at the University of Exeter (PhD Thesis: Spatio-temporal modelling of climate-sensitive disease risk: towards an early warning system for dengue in Brazil). Alongside my PhD, I was a Network Facilitator for the Leverhulme Trust funded project EUROBRISA: a EURO-BRazilian Initiative for improving South American seasonal forecasts. During the project, I collaborated with climate scientists and public health experts in Brazil, which resulted in my continuing participation in the Brazilian Climate and Health Observatory.

From 2010-2012, I was a Visiting Scientist at the International Centre for Theoretical Physics in Trieste, Italy, where I worked with the Malawi Ministry of Health to develop predictive models for malaria and a platform to integrate climate information and rural telemedicine. From 2012-2016, I was a Postdoctoral Scientist and Head of Climate Services for Health at the Catalan Institute for Climate Sciences (IC3) in Barcelona, Spain. I have worked with the World Health Organization as a temporary advisor on developing decision making tools for climate and health in Europe. I am a visiting scholar at the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal).


Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology
Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health


Centre for the Mathematical Modelling of Infectious Diseases (CMMID)
Centre on Climate Change and Planetary Health


My research is funded by a Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowship, supported by the Global Challenges Research Fund. My current project concerns modelling the impact of global environmental change on vector-borne diseases, such as dengue, Zika, chikungunya and malaria.

The aim is to develop statistical and mathematical models to understand the relationship between climatic, socio-economic and demographic factors and variations in disease risk in space and time. Understanding geographical risk is important for targeting limited public health resources, while predicting future risk helps public health authorities plan for changing disease patterns due to shifts in climate or human behaviour.

I also hold a Royal Society Research Grant for Research Fellows, funding a 4-year PhD studentship for Sophie Lee to investigate the role of climate, cities, and connectivity in the transmission of arboviruses in Brazil.

I lead the dengue modelling component of a UK Space Agency project, which integrates seasonal climate forecasts in a dengue early warning system to predict the probability of dengue outbreaks in Vietnam up to 7 months in advance.

Alongside my research, I organise and teach on international and regional climate and health capacity building activities for postgraduate students and public health practitioners, with partners at the International Research Institute for Climate and Society, International Centre for Theoretical Physics, and the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation.

My outreach activities and research on dengue early warning systems have been showcased in policy reports published by the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, World Meteorological Organization and World Health Organization. I am a member of the World Meteorological Organization task team on meteoroloigcal and air quality factors impacting COVID-19 and the ISNTD Dengue Advisory Group.

Research Area
Climate change
Public health
Statistical methods
Bayesian Analysis
Capacity strengthening
Global Health
Natural disasters
Spatial analysis
Mathematical modelling
Disease and Health Conditions
Emerging Infectious Disease
Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs)
Vector borne disease
Zoonotic disease

Selected Publications

Probabilistic seasonal dengue forecasting in Vietnam: A modelling study using superensembles.
Colón-González FJ; Soares Bastos L; Hofmann B; Hopkin A; Harpham Q; Crocker T; Amato R; Ferrario I; Moschini F; James S
PLoS medicine
Combined effects of hydrometeorological hazards and urbanisation on dengue risk in Brazil: a spatiotemporal modelling study.
Lowe R; Lee SA; O'Reilly KM; Brady OJ; Bastos L; Carrasco-Escobar G; de Castro Catão R; Colón-González FJ; Barcellos C; Carvalho MS
The Lancet. Planetary health
The Relative Role of Climate Variation and Control Interventions on Malaria Elimination Efforts in El Oro, Ecuador: A Modeling Study
Fletcher IK; Stewart-Ibarra AM; Sippy R; Carrasco-Escobar G; Silva M; Beltran-Ayala E; Ordoñez T; Adrian J; Sáenz FE; Drakeley C
Emerging arboviruses in the urbanized Amazon rainforest.
Lowe R; Lee S; Martins Lana R; Torres Codeço C; Castro MC; Pascual M
Building resilience to mosquito-borne diseases in the Caribbean.
Lowe R; Ryan SJ; Mahon R; Van Meerbeeck CJ; Trotman AR; Boodram L-LG; Borbor-Cordova MJ; Stewart-Ibarra AM
The Zika Virus Epidemic in Brazil: From Discovery to Future Implications.
Lowe R; Barcellos C; Brasil P; Cruz OG; Honório NA; Kuper H; Carvalho MS
International journal of environmental research and public health
Nonlinear and delayed impacts of climate on dengue risk in Barbados: A modelling study.
Lowe R; Gasparrini A; Van Meerbeeck CJ; Lippi CA; Mahon R; Trotman AR; Rollock L; Hinds AQJ; Ryan SJ; Stewart-Ibarra AM
PLoS medicine
Climate services for health: predicting the evolution of the 2016 dengue season in Machala, Ecuador.
Lowe R; Stewart-Ibarra AM; Petrova D; García-Díez M; Borbor-Cordova MJ; Mejía R; Regato M; Rodó X
The lancet Planetary health
Evaluating probabilistic dengue risk forecasts from a prototype early warning system for Brazil.
Lowe R; Coelho CA; Barcellos C; Carvalho MS; Catão RDC; Coelho GE; Ramalho WM; Bailey TC; Stephenson DB; Rodó X
Quantifying the added value of climate information in a spatio-temporal dengue model
Lowe R; Cazelles B; Paul R; Rodó X
Stochastic environmental research and risk assessment
Dengue outlook for the World Cup in Brazil: an early warning model framework driven by real-time seasonal climate forecasts.
Lowe R; Barcellos C; Coelho CAS; Bailey TC; Coelho GE; Graham R; Jupp T; Ramalho WM; Carvalho MS; Stephenson DB
The Lancet infectious diseases
Expansion of the dengue transmission area in Brazil: the role of climate and cities.
Barcellos C; Lowe R
Tropical medicine & international health
The development of an early warning system for climate-sensitive disease risk with a focus on dengue epidemics in Southeast Brazil.
Lowe R; Bailey TC; Stephenson DB; Jupp TE; Graham RJ; Barcellos C; Carvalho MS
Statistics in medicine
See more Publications