Bridget Penman

Departmental Research Lecturer

Merton College


Research Interests

I am currently working on two main projects.  The first is concerned with malaria protective haemoglobinopathies such as sickle cell anaemia and the thalassaemias.  I am investigating the processes that could have led to the current global distribution of these genes, and relating this to the mechanisms underlying the malaria protection they offer.  The second project focusses on the Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) and Killer Immunoglobulin-like Receptor (KIR) gene families, which encode vital components of the human immune system.  I am using mathematical models to investigate the consequences of interactions between these genes for human health and evolution.






Selected Publications

  • Goncalves BP, Gupta S, Penman BS (2016), Sickle cell, haemoglobin C and malaria mortality feedbacks. Malaria Journal 15(26)  LINK

  • Hockham C, Piel FB, Gupta S, Penman BS (2015), Understanding the contrasting spatial haplotype patterns of malaria-protective beta globin polymorphisms. Infect Genet Evol 36 174-183 LINK 

  • Penman BS, Gupta S, Weatherall, D (2014) Epistasis and the sensitivity of phenotypic screens for beta thalassaemia. British Journal of Haematology, 169(1) 117-128 LINK

  • Penman BS, Ashby B, Buckee C, Gupta S (2013) Pathogen selection drives non overlapping associations between HLA loci,  PNAS, 110(48):19645-50.  LINK

  • Penman BS, Gupta S, Buckee CO. (2012) The emergence and maintenance of sickle cell hotspots in the Mediterranean, Infect Genet Evol,12(7):1543-1550

  • Penman,B.S. Habib,S. Kanchan,K. Gupta,S. (2011), Negative epistasis between α+ thalassaemia and sickle cell trait can explain interpopulation variation in South Asia, Evolution, 65, 12, 3625-3632

  • Penman B.S., Pybus O, Weatherall DJ, Gupta S (2009) Epistatic interactions between genetic disorders of hemoglobin can explain why the sickle cell gene is uncommon in the Mediterranean PNAS, 50, 21242-21246

  • Williams TN, Mwangi TW, Wambua S, Peto TE, Weatherall DJ, Gupta S, Recker M, Penman BS, Uyoga S, Macharia A, Mwacharo JK, Snow RW, Marsh K. (2005) Negative epistasis between the malaria-protective effects of α+-thalassemia and the sickle cell trait. Nature Genetics .37(11) 1253 - 1257