Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

2019 Statistical Science Lecture presented by Distinguished Professor Peter J Diggle

November 6 @ 5:30 pm - 6:30 pm

2019 Statistical Science Lecture

Lecture Title

A Tale of Two Parasites:  Statistical science to support disease control programmes in Africa


Distinguished Professor Peter J Diggle, Lancaster University and Health Data Research UK


It has been estimated that one-sixth of the world’s population is infected with one or more of the Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs). This is a collective label for a group of communicable diseases that prevail in tropical and subtropical conditions, but especially in sub-Saharan Africa. A key strategy for the control of several NTDs in Africa is mass distribution of a protective drug, ivermectin, in high-prevalence areas. A potential obstacle is that people who have high levels of infection with a particular parasite, Loa loa (eyeworm), are at risk of a serious, occasionally fatal, adverse reaction to ivermectin.

I will describe how, over a number of years, statistical modelling has been used to map Loa loa prevalence to identify high-risk communities, and I will show how this strategy has evolved in response to two stimuli: changes in the extent and nature of the available data; and refinement of the policy-relevant research questions.

I conclude that the job of the statistical scientist is to “analyse problems, not data.”

Diggle, P.J. and Giorgi, E. (2019). Model-based Geostatistics: Methods and Applications in Global Public Health. Boca Raton: CRC Press.

Diggle, P.J., Thomson, M.C., Christensen, O.F., Rowlingson, B., Obsomer, V., Gardon, J., Wanji, S., Takougang, I., Enyong, P., Kamgno, J., Remme, H., Boussinesq, M. and

Molyneux, D.H. (2007). Spatial modelling and prediction of Loa loa risk: decision making under uncertainty. Annals of Tropical Medicine and Parasitology, 101, 499-509.



Peter Diggle is a Distinguished University Professor of Statistics in CHICAS, a research and training group within the Lancaster Medical School that operates at the intersection of biostatistics, epidemiology and health informatics (www.chicas.lancaster-university.uk).  He is also Director of Training for Health Data Research UK (www.hdruk.ac.uk), holds adjunct positions at Johns Hopkins, Yale and Columbia Universities, and was president of the Royal Statistical Society between July 2014 and December 2016.

Between 1974 and 1983 Peter was a Lecturer, then Reader in Statistics at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne. Between 1984 and 1988 he was Senior, then Principal, then Chief Research Scientist and Chief of the Division of Mathematics and Statistics at CSIRO, Australia.

Peter’s research involves the development of statistical methods for spatial and longitudinal data analysis and their applications in the biomedical, health and environmental sciences, with particular interests in statistical methods for real-time analysis of routinely recorded health information in both developed and developing country settings. He received the Royal Statistical Society’s Guy Medal in Silver in 1997. He has served the UK Medical Research Council as chair of their Skills Development Fellowships Panel, and the Welcome Trust as a member of their Our Planet Our Health initiative.

Away from work, Peter relaxes by playing guitar and tenor recorder, listening to jazz, cooking, dancing with Mandy, and occasionally venturing into the countryside on his electrically-assisted bike.

Public is welcome and the lecture is free.  Pre-lecture drinks/canapés from 4.45pm. Lecture from 5.30pm.


Register now


November 6
5:30 pm - 6:30 pm
Events Categories:


Building 28. Room 101
Northfields Ave, Building 3 Room 224
Wollongong, NSW 2522 Australia
+ Google Map