A highly commended project

Congratulations to our recent graduate Aleksejs Sazonovs, who’s won a Highly Commended place at this year’s Undergraduate Awards.

The Undergraduate Awards are an international and cross-disciplinary prize that aims to recognise highly creative individuals at undergraduate level. Typically this is demonstrated through excellent project work, and Aleks’ project on “A metapopulation model for predicting the success of genetic control measures for malaria” was ranked in the top 10% of submissions in the computer science category.

Aleks’ project used techniques from network science to explore what happens when mosquitoes modified to be unable to carry the malaria parasite are introduced into a wild population. Experiments like these are an essential precursor to any actual field trials. Together with supervisors from the School of Computer Science (Prof Simon Dobson) and School of Biology (Prof Oscar Gaggiotti), Aleks simulated malarial outbreaks involving different mosquito populations. He used a real geography for his experiments, taking the road network of Sierra Leone from the Open Street Map project and using this to build models of human and mosquito distributions and movement. “It’s been exciting to combine real network data with large-scale simulations,” said Prof Dobson. “It also opens-up several ideas for how to make models like this easier to build and interact with, so they could be used by experimental scientists directly and not just by computer scientists.”

The commendation comes with an invitation to all the highly commended individuals to the awards dinner in Dublin later this month, where the overall winners of the different categories will be announced.