My main area of interest is the evolution of diversity in pathogens, with particular reference to the infectious disease agents that are responsible for malaria, influenza and bacterial meningitis. I use simple mathematical models to generate new hypotheses regarding the processes that determine the population structure of these pathogens. I work closely with laboratory and field scientists both to develop these hypotheses and to test them.
The flexibility of a career in science has certainly allowed me to spend a lot of time with my children, particularly as I am able to do much of my work at home. Trying to maintain a career as a novelist at the same time has however been difficult, but writing is a passion that I cannot easily put aside. In both cases, it is not so much the work itself but all else that goes along with it (such as travelling to conferences) that becomes hard to accommodate.