Home >Staff List
Research Associate – biostatistics and epidemiology
School of Clinical
University of Bristol,
BS40 5DU, UK.
I graduated from
the ‘Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Chimie de Montpellier’ in 2004 with a ‘Diplôme
d’Ingénieur Chimiste’ equivalent to a MSc in Chemistry. I spent the last year
of my MSc in Cambridge,
having started my PhD the previous year in the Genetics department. My PhD
project involved studying various aspects of Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) population
genomics. The two main chapters of my thesis
investigated the population structure of the virus and developing a statistical
method to identify disease-related polymorphisms with HBV genome.
my PhD, I got a post-doc position as a biostatistician at the Institute for
Animal Health (IAH) in Pirbright, developping bluetongue virus (BTV)
transmission models. This mainly involved developing a between-farm
transmission model to predict BTV spread in Great Britain. I further modified
this transmission model to allow the inclusion of control measures, especially
various vaccination strategies. This model was applied in cost-benefit
exercise commissioned by the Scottish government in 2008, which served as the basis for the BTV control policy
Apart from developing BTV spread models and simulating epidemics under various
scenarios, I have also helped analysing field experiments (estimating midge
biting rate of sheep) and standardising multiplex PCR.
I joined the
Animal Behaviour and Welfare group at Langford in November 2008 to work with Bill Browne on identifying
factors which could influence the risk of bovine tuberculosis breakdowns in
cattle herds in Great Britain. This project mainly involves fitting multilevel
models to the data generated during the Randomised Badger
Culling Trial. The novelty of the approach we are planning to use is to
account for the variation due to spatial structure of the dataset at the levels
of both cattle farms and badger social groups. I have also recently started
working with the Centre
for Multilevel Modelling on the new e-Stat: a quantitative node for ESRC NCeSS programme
I am interested
by a wide range of research topics, which all share as common denominator the
use of statistics to answer biological questions. I have a particular interest
in developing general methodologies or models to describe biological systems
(or at least some aspects of these). As part of this, I have started looking at
the possibilities to link climate, epidemiology and socio/economic models
through the use of mathematics and statistics.
v Gubbins, Szmaragd, et al. (2010). Assessing the consequences of an incursion of a
vector-borne disease. I. Identifying feasible incursion scenarios for
bluetongue in Scotland. Epidemics 2: 148-154. doi: 10.1016/jepidem.2010.05.001
v Szmaragd, Gunn and Gubbins (2010).
Assessing the consequences of an incursion of a vector-borne disease. II.
Spread of bluetongue in Scotland and impact of vaccination. Epidemics 2:
139-147. doi: 10.1016/jepidem.2010.05.002 [article]
v Szmaragd, et al. (2010). The
Spread of Bluetongue Virus Serotype 8 in Great Britain and Its Control by
Vaccination. PloS ONE 5(2): e9353. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0009353.[abstract]
v Szmaragd, et al. (2009). A modeling framework to describe the transmission of
bluetongue virus within and between farms in Great Bristain. PloS ONE 4(11):
v Wilson, Mellor, Szmaragd, Mertens (2009). Adaptive
strategies of African horse sickness virus to facilitate vector transmission.
Vet. Res. 40(2). [abstract]
v Carpenter, Szmaragd, et al. (2008). An assessment of Culicoides
surveillance techniques in northern Europe:
have we underestimated a potential bluetongue virus vector? J. App. Ecology
45(4): 1237-45. [abstract]
v Szmaragd, Balloux (2007). The population
genomics of hepatitis B virus. Mol. Ecol. 16(22): 4747-58. [abstract]
v Szmaragd, Wilson, et
al. (2007). Mortality and case fatality during the recurrence of BTV-8 in
northern Europe in 2007. Vet. Rec. 161(16): 571-2. [letter]
v Parsyan, Szmaragd, Allain, Candotti (2007).
Identification and genetic diversity of two human parvovirus B19 genotype 3
subtypes. J. Gen. Virol. 88(2): 428-31 [abstract]
v Szmaragd, Foster, et al. (2006). Genome-wide characterisation of hepatitis B
mutations involved in clinical outcome. Heredity 97(6): 389-97. [abstract]
v Szmaragd, Nichols, Balloux (2006). A
novel approach to characterise pathogen candidate genetic polymorphisms
involved in clinical outcome. Infect. Genet. Evol. 6(1): 38-45 [abstract]
Journals for which I have refereed:
(journal of the Royal Society)
Journal of the Royal Statistical Society
Infection Genetics and Evolution
Computer and bioinformatics skills:
During my research I have been using a variety of
software and programmes, on which I would be willing to provide help and
While I mainly use R for statistics (and other
things), I have also some experience (however sometimes limited) of other
statistical packages such as MLwiN, WinBUGS, Matlab, SPSS
or Minitab. I have also started learning STATA.
I have programmed in Python, Fortran, Perl, Matlab,
R, C++ and Visual Basic (for the last one, this was a long time ago).
GIS and mapping software:
In that area, I am most familiar with MapInfo, but I have also started
using R spatial packages.