Fred Piel

Senior Research Associate


Research Interests

I am interested in the distribution and burden of inherited blood disorders. Despite a predicted increasing number of individuals affected both in high- and low-/middle-income countries, existing maps and population estimates for these disorders are mostly out of date. Using multidisciplinary skills acquired during my PhD (in forest entomology) and my post-doctoral experience, I apply contemporary mapping and modelling methods to contemporary collections of epidemiological data. Most of my work so far as focussed on haemoglobin S and C, but I have also been involved in research on the Duffy blood group, G6PD deficiency and malaria. My current focus is currently on the thalassaemias and haemoglobin E. My research allows investigating both basic science questions, such as the spatial relationship between the distributions of the sickle cell gene and malaria, and applied science questions, such as the number of newborns affected by sickle cell disease at various scales. My interests also include collating data on demographic trends, social (e.g. consanguinity and ethnicity) and environmental factors, and investigating epistatic interactions between different inherited blood disorders.






Selected Publications

  • Tewary, S., Brousse, V., Piel, F.B., Menzel, S. & Rees, D.C. (2015) Environmental determinants of severity in sickle cell disease. Haematologica 100(9):1108-1116. doi: 10.3324/haematol.2014.120030.

  • Piel, F.B., Adamkiewitzc, T.V., Amendah, D.D., Williams, T.N., Gupta, S. & Grosse, S.D. (2015) Observed and expected frequencies of structural haemoglobin variants in newborn screening programmes in Africa and the Middle East. Genetics in Medicine (in press).

  • Piel, F.B. and Weatherall, D.J. (2014) The alpha-thalassemias. The New England Journal of Medicine 371: 1908-1916. doi: 10.1056/NEJMra1404415

  • Piel, F.B., Rees, D.C. and Williams, T.N. (2014) Managing the burden of sickle-cell disease in Africa. The Lancet Haematology 1(1):e11. doi: 10.1016/S2352-3026(14)70017-1

  • Piel, F.B., Tatem, A.J., Huang, Z., Gupta, S., Williams, T.N. and Weatherall, D.J. (2014) Human migration and the changing distribution of sickle haemoglobin: a quantitative study of temporal trends between 1960 and 2000. The Lancet Global Health 2(2): e80. doi: 10.1016/S2214-109X(13)70150-5.

  • Piel, F.B., Hay, S.I., Gupta, S., Weatherall, D.J. and Williams, T.N. (2013) Global Burden of Sickle Cell Anaemia in Children under Five, 2010–2050: Modelling Based on Demographics, Excess Mortality, and Interventions. PLoS Medicine. 10(7): e1001484. doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1001484.

  • Piel, F.B., Howes, R.E., Moyes, C., Williams, T.N., Weatherall, D.J. and Hay, S.I. (2013) Online biomedical resources for malaria-related red cell disorders. Human Mutation. 34(7): 937-944. doi: 10.1002/humu.22330.

  • Piel, F.B., Howes, R.E., Patil, A.P., Nyangiri, O.A., Gething, P.W., Bhatt, S., Williams, T.N., Weatherall, D.J. and Hay, S.I. (2013) The distribution of haemoglobin C and its prevalence in newborns in Africa. Scientific Reports. 3: 1671. doi:10.1038/srep01671.

  • Piel, F.B., Patil, A.P., Howes, R.H., Nyangiri, O.A., Gething, P.W., Dewi, M., Williams, T.N., Weatherall, D.J. and Hay, S.I. (2013) Global epidemiology of sickle haemoglobin in neonates: a contemporary geostatistical model-based map and population estimates. The Lancet. 381(9861):142-151.  doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(12)61229-X

  • Howes, R.E., Patil, A.P, Piel, F.B., Nyangiri, O.A., Gething, P.W. Zimmerman, P, Barnadas, C., Beall, C., Gebremedhin , A., Ménard , D., Williams, T.N., Weatherall, D.J. and Hay, S.I. (2011) The global distribution of the Duffy blood group. Nature Communications. 2: 270. doi: 10.1038/ncomms1265.

  • Grosse, S.D., Odame, I., Atrash, H.K., Amendah, D.D., Piel, F.B. and Williams, T.N. (2011) Sickle cell disease in Africa: a neglected cause of early childhood mortality. American Journal of Preventive Medicine. 41(6S4): S398-S405. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2011.09.013.

  • Patil, A.P., Gething, P.W., Piel, F.B. and Hay, S.I. (2011) Bayesian geostatistics in health cartography. The perspective of malaria. Trends in Parasitology. 27(6): 246-253. doi: 10.1016/

  • Piel, F.B., Patil, A.P., Howes, R.H., Nyangiri, O.A., Gething, P.W., Williams, T.N., Weatherall, D.J. and Hay, S.I.(2010)Global distribution of the sickle cell gene and geographical confirmation of the malaria hypothesis. Nature Communications. 2: 104 doi: 10.1038/ncomms1104.