Sarah Randolph

Emeritus Academic Staff

quondam Official Student and Tutor for Biological Sciences, Christ Church


Research Interests

Ticks transmit an extraordinarily wide array of pathogens world-wide, and also cause direct damage to livestock as blood-sucking parasites, imposing huge economic burdens where they can least be afforded. The unique biology of ticks exacerbates the complex dynamics common to all vector-borne disease systems, whose epidemiological outcome depends on the precise biological interactions between vectors, hosts and transmitted parasites, and the impact of environmental factors on these interactions. My objectives have always been to understand the real biological complexity of these systems, first empirically in both the field and laboratory, and then capturing its essence in quantitative language to explain, and thereby predict, broad-scale patterns in the spatially and temporally variable risk of infection.


Having explained the focal distribution of tick-borne encephalitis, the most severe widespread vector-borne disease in Europe, I am now looking to explain the extreme spatio-temporal heterogeneity in the dramatic upsurge in incidence of this disease over the past two decades. This involves adding a new strand, human socio-economic factors, to explanations of the epidemiology of tick-borne diseases, as this determines variable exposure to risk. I am collaborating with sociologists and psychologists to investigate public perception of risk with respect to Lyme disease in the UK

Oxford Tick Research Group






Selected Publications

  • Stefanoff P, Rosinska M, Samuels S, Morse D, White DJ, Randolph SE (2012) A national case-control study identifies human socio-economic status and activities as risk factors for tick-borne encephalitis in Poland. PLoS ONE 7(9) e45511. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0045511

  • Randolph SE & Dobson ADM (2012) Pangloss revisited: a critique of the dilution effect and the biodiversity-buffers-disease paradigm. Parasitology 139, 847-863.

  • Dobson ADM & Randolph SE (2011) Modelling the effects of host density, temperature and acaricide treatments on population dynamics of Ixodes ricinus in the UK. Journal of Applied Ecology 48, 1029-1037. Doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2664.2011.02004.x

  • Godfrey ER & Randolph SE (2011) Economic downturn results in tick-borne disease upsurge. Parasites & Vectors 4, e35. (10pp) Doi:10.1186/1756-3305-4-35
  • Randolph SE & Rogers DJ (2010) The arrival, establishment and spread of exotic diseases: patterns and predictions. Nature Reviews Microbiology 8, 361-371. Doi:10.1038/nrmicro2336.
  • Randolph SE (2009) Tick-borne diseases emerge from the shadows: the beauty lies in molecular detail, the message in epidemiology. Parasitology 136, 1403-1413. Doi:10.1017/S0031182009005782.
  • Hartemink NA, Randolph SE, Davies S, Heesterbeek JAP (2008) The basic reproduction number for tick-borne infections. The American Naturalist 171(6), 743-754
  • Šumilo D, Bormane A, Asokliene L, Vasilenko V, Golovljova I, Avsic-Zupanc T, Hubalek Z, Randolph SE (2008) Socio-economic factors in the differential upsurge of tick-borne encephalitis in Central and Eastern Europe. Reviews in Medical Virology 18, 81-95