Sunetra Gupta

Professor of Theoretical Epidemiology


Research Interests

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.

Additional Information

I have an interest in the public understanding of science (see and also in the connections between science and literature at the level of language and narrative (see ).






Selected Publications

  • Watkins ER, Penman BS, J, Buckee CO, Maiden MCJ & Gupta S (2015) Vaccination drives changes in metabolic and virulence profiles of Streptococcus pneumoniae. PLOS Pathogens 11:e1005034. doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1005034
  • Wikramaratna PS, Lourenço J, Klenerman P, Pybus OG & Gupta S (2015) Effects of neutralising antibodies on escape from CD8+ T cell responses in HIV-1 infection. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B 370:20140290. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2014.0290
  • Wikramaratna PS, Pybus OG & Gupta S (2014). Contact between bird species of different lifespans can promote the emergence of highly pathogenic avian influenza strains. Proc Natl Acad Sci 111:10767-72. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1401849111
  • Buckee CO, Recker M, Watkins ER & Gupta S (2011) Role of stochastic processes in maintaining discrete strain structure in antigenically diverse pathogen populations. Proc Natl Acad Sci 108:15504-9. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1102445108
  • Penman B, Pybus OG, Weatherall DJ & Gupta S (2009) Epistatic interactions between genetic disorders of hemoglobin can explain why the sickle cell gene is uncommon in the Mediterranean. Proc Natl Acad Sci 106: 21242-6 
  • Recker, M., Pybus, O.G., Nee, S. & Gupta, S. (2007) The generation of influenza outbreaks by a network of host immune responses against a limited set of antigenic types. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 104:7711-6.
  • Recker M et al (2004) Transient cross-reactive immune responses can orchestrate antigenic variation in malaria. Nature 429:555-8.
  • Gupta S et al (1999) Immunity to severe malaria is acquired after one or two exposures. Nature Medicine 5:340?3
  • Ferguson, N., Anderson, R.M. & Gupta, S. (1999) The effect of antibody dependent enhancement on the transmission dynamics and persistence of multiple strain pathogens. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA 96: 790?794
  • Gupta, S., Ferguson, N. & Anderson, R.M. (1998) Chaos, persistence and the evolution of strain structure in populations of antigenically variable infectious agents. Science 240:912?915.
  • Buckee CO et al (2008) Role of selection in the emergence of lineages and the evolution of virulence in Neisseria meningitidis. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. (39):15082-7.
  • Gupta, S et al (1996) The maintenance of strain structure in populations of recombining infectious agents. Nature Medicine 2(4): 437?442.
  • Gupta, S., Trenholme, K. Anderson, R.M. & Day, K.P. (1994) Antigenic diversity and the transmission dynamics of Plasmodium falciparum. Science 263, 961-963.
  • Anderson, R.M., Gupta, S. & May, R.M. (1991) Potential of community-wide chemotherapy or immunotherapy to control the spread of HIV-1. Nature 350: 356-359.
  • Gupta, S., Anderson, R.M. & May, R.M. (1989) Networks of sexual contacts: implications for the pattern of spread of HIV. AIDS 3: 807-817.