Dr Cerian Webb

BSc (York), MSc (Dundee), PhD (Cantab)

Associate Lecturer

College Roles

  • Associate Lecturer in Natural Sciences Biological (Mathematical Biology)

University Roles

  • Postdoctoral Research Associate, Department of Plant Sciences


Telephone: +44 (0) 1223 330229

Email: crw1005@cam.ac.uk


Dr Cerian Webb is a mathematical epidemiologist with a background in both plant and animal systems. Her undergraduate degree in pure mathematics was followed by an MSc in Mathematical Biology which included a project using mathematical models to explain pattern formation in seashells. She then moved to IACR-Brooms Barn and studied for a PhD at the University of Cambridge under the supervision of Professor Chris Gilligan and Dr Rik Werker. Her PhD focussed on modelling the impact of nitrogen on the growth of sugar beet and on rhizomania, a commercially important disease of sugar beet. After completing her PhD, Cerian moved to VLA-Weybridge (now APHA) where she worked on models to investigate the dynamics of scrapie and the likely efficacy of control policies. She then returned to Cambridge and took up the Kirsten Rausing Research Fellowship in the Department of Veterinary Medicine where she continued to work on network-based models to predict the spread of farm animal diseases. More recently she has returned to her roots and is back in the Department of Plant Sciences where she is currently working on a range of tree pests and pathogens.


Dr Cerian Webb regularly lectures on both undergraduate and postgraduate courses in Mathematical Biology at the University of Cambridge as well as external courses on infectious disease dynamics. She also has delivered courses on MATLAB over a number of years and is co-author of the textbook “Introduction to MATLAB for Biologists”.

Research Interests

My current research focuses on the application of mathematical models to support strategies to mitigate threats to tree biosecurity in Great Britain. I am working on a range of current and potential threats to tree health including European Spruce Bark Beetle, Sweet Chestnut Blight, Oak Processionary Moth and Emerald Ash Borer.

On the animal health side, I developed and led a programme of modelling work to investigate the dynamics of livestock disease and efficacy of control policies in the UK with a particular focus on understanding the impact of animal movement on spatial spread of farm animal diseases. I contributed to international disease modelling programmes on transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) through EU collaborations and work with Massey University, New Zealand.