Andrew Rambaut is an evolutionary biologist whose research has focused on the evolution, epidemiology and origins of RNA viruses. RNA viruses – which include HIV, influenza, Ebola, SARS-CoV-2, Zika, polio and many other of the most challenging infectious diseases – are characterised by their unrivalled rate of evolution. Andrew's work harnesses this otherwise vexatious feature to reconstruct the history of transmission and spread recorded in their genomes through the accumulation of mutations.
He has created some of the core analytical tools used in the burgeoning field of genomic epidemiology allowing rapid insights into newly discovered epidemics and, in the era of rapid genomic sequencing, the real-time tracking of their spread and evolution. He has also made fundamental contributions to our understanding of the origins of many of the major epidemics of the last 100 years.
Andrew has been at the School of Biological Science at the University of Edinburgh since 2006. He was a recipient of the Scientific Medal of the Zoological Society of London in 2010, the same year he was elected to the Royal Society of Edinburgh. He lives with his family in Edinburgh where they tolerate his interest in astrophotography because suitable conditions are so rare.
Chair of Molecular Evolution,
Institute of Ecology and Evolution, University of Edinburgh