Faculty of Biological Sciences

Dr Rupert Quinnell

BA, Cambridge; DPhil, Oxford. PhD - 1990
Senior Lecturer
School of Biology

Background: Post-doctoral research at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Contact:  Miall 8.05, +44(0) 113 34 32824, email address for  

Research Interests

Population biology and control of parasitic diseases

My research aims to identify the environmental and host factors that determine parasite abundance, and to use this knowledge to inform disease control programmes.  Research focuses on two groups of important human parasites: soil-transmitted helminths, particularly hookworm, and the leishmaniases.  This involves a combination of longitudinal field studies, quantitative analysis, and laboratory studies of host genetics and immunology. 

A major research area is understanding the role of host genetics in infection.  Using quantitative genetic approaches, I am exploring the importance of host genetic factors in controlling whether people are heavily infected with helminth parasites.  This work uses data from large field studies in Brazil and Papua New Guinea, with the ultimate aim to identify genes controlling infection.  For visceral leishmaniasis, gene mapping studies are being carried out with colleagues in Barcelona and Manchester.  We are using genome-wide association analysis and fine-mapping to characterise resistance loci in domestic dogs, which are the major reservoir of human infection. 

Field studies on visceral leishmaniasis in Brazil focus on understanding the epidemiology of infection in domestic dogs, and using novel insecticide treatments (long-lasting topical deltamethrin of dogs) to control infection. This work is carried out in collaboration with the University of Warwick and the Instituto Evandro Chagas, Brazil.  In Colombia, I have been investigating the role of domestic and wild mammals as reservoir hosts in the epidemiology of a recent outbreak of cutaneous leishmaniasis, with colleagues from CIDEIM, Colombia. 

Funding for research comes from the European Union Framework 7 and the Wellcome Trust.


Current Projects

  1. Epidemiology, immunology and genetics of parasitic infection, particularly human hookworm infection and canine visceral leishmaniasis.
  2. Immunology and genetics of human hookworm infection in Papua New Guinea.

Faculty Research and Innovation

Studentship information

Postgraduate studentship areas:

  • Immuno-epidemiology and genetics of parasitic infection

See also:

Modules managed

BLGY2175 - Human Populations
BLGY3300 - Level 3 Field Course (South Africa)
BLGY5107M - Biodiversity and Conservation Skills I
BLGY5108M - Biodiversity and Conservation Skills II
BLGY5111M - MRes Biodiversity and Conservation Skills II
BLGY5112M - Advanced Statistics
BLGY5116M - Habitat Management
BLGY5117M - Introduction to GIS Skills for Ecologists
BLGY5130M - Biodiversity and Conservation Internships
BLGY5131M - Practical Conservation with the National Trust
BLGY5180M - Conservation Skills
BLGY5198M - Biodiversity and Conservation MRes Research Project 1

Modules taught

BIOL5372M - Advanced Biomolecular Technologies
BIOL5394M - Specialised Research Topics and Skills
BLGY1300 - Coastal and Upland Habitats Field Course
BLGY1303 - Tutorials for Biology and Genetics
BLGY2100 - Enhanced Study Skills for Biologists
BLGY2137 - Parasitology
BLGY2175 - Human Populations
BLGY3021 - Research Project
BLGY3300 - Level 3 Field Course (South Africa)
BLGY3340 - Biology Research Projects
BLGY5107M - Biodiversity and Conservation Skills I
BLGY5108M/5111M - MSc/MRes Bio & Cons Skills II
BLGY5116M - Habitat Management
BLGY5153M - African Field Ecology
BLGY5180M - Conservation Skills
BLGY5191M - Biodiversity and Conservation MSc and MRes Summer Project
BLGY5198M - Biodiversity and Conservation MRes Research Project 1
PGR stats - PhD advanced stats


Member of Faculty Taught Student Education Committee (Co-opted member)
Member of Masters Taught Student Education Committee (Programme Leader: MSc/MRes Biodiversity and Conservation)

Group Leader Dr Rupert Quinnell  (Senior Lecturer)

Population biology and control of parasitic diseases 


Isra Alsaady (Co-supervisor) 10% FTE
Thanate Kerdkaew (Co-supervisor) 34% FTE
Siti Khairiyah Mohd Hatta (Co-supervisor) 25% FTE
Leandro Patino Patino (Co-supervisor) 15% FTE
Lauren Smith (Co-supervisor) 50% FTE