Phylogenetics And Networks for Generalised HIV Epidemics in Africa


University of Edinburgh

The University of Edinburgh is one of the largest and most successful universities in the UK with an international reputation as a centre of academic excellence. The University is the leading research university in Scotland, ranking 46th in the world and 7th in the United Kingdom in 2014 (THES rankings). The College of Science & Engineering, is in the front rank of UK University science and engineering groupings for research quality and research income, with two Wellcome Trust Centres and a UK Medical Research Council Centre within the School of Biological Sciences and over £175m in grant funding.

The Institute of Evolutionary Biology in the School of Biological Sciences includes over 35 research-active Faculty and another 38 doctoral research staff, and is one of the largest concentrations of evolutionary specialists in the world. The Institute is a reference centre in specific research lines such as viral molecular evolution, development of phylogenetic analysis tools, and population genetics. The HIV evolution group within the Institute comprises three renowned pioneers in the field, including Profs Paul Sharp FRS FRSE and Andrew Rambaut FRSE, as well as Prof Andrew Leigh Brown FRSE. 

Professor Andrew Leigh Brown, has been analysing sequence evolution in HIV for over 25 years. For much of that time he has been trying to link viral phylogenetics with epidemiology to study the virus transmission. His group developed the technique now known as single genome sequencing in 1990 and used it to demonstrate the clonal nature of HIV infection in 1993. Analysing the population genetics of individual infections, in 1997 he showed the effective size of the virus population to be surprisingly low, revealing a possible role for stochastic effects in within-patient viral evolution. He has worked in the UK, Uganda and the USA and makes use of very large patient databases to reconstruct the transmission network of HIV in infected communities and estimate epidemic dynamics. In 2007 the group showed that HIV epidemics in men who have sex with men (MSM) in the UK were episodic, comprising many smaller-scale clustered outbreaks. More details on Professor Andrew Leigh Brown’s research can be found on http://www.hivbio.org.

Professor Andrew Leigh Brown is member of the PANGEA_HIV Executive Committee and leads in conjunction with Professor Christophe Fraser the analysis group of PANGEA_HIV.