Louis du Plessis

Post-doctoral Researcher

Department of Zoology

University of Oxford

Peter Medawar Building

South Parks Road

Oxford, OX1 3SY, UK

I analyse signatures left by population dynamic processes and selective pressures in pathogen genomes. These signatures contain important information about the spread and adaptation of infectious diseases. In particular, I am interested in the potential of phylodynamic methods to produce rapid and accurate inferences of key epidemiological parameters and inform public health policy during emerging and re-emerging infectious disease outbreaks. I further aim to identify scenarios where current methods fail when confronted with the biases inherent in real-world data and develop new methods that are robust to such biases. I am also interested in developing methods for total-evidence epidemiological inferences, combining different types of data (such as genomic and surveillance data) in an integrated framework. Finally, I am interested in finding ways to better visualise and communicate results to both scientists and non-scientists alike.

du Plessis L, Leventhal GE, Bonhoeffer S (2016) How good Are statistical models at approximating complex fitness landscapes? Molecular Biology & Evolution 33:2454-68

du Plessis L, Stadler T (2015) Getting to the root of epidemic spread with phylodynamic analysis of genomic data. Trends in Microbiology 23:383-6

Barribeau SM, Sadd BM, du Plessis L, Brown MJ, Buechel SD, Cappelle K, Carolan JC, Christiaens O, Colgan TJ, Erler S, Evans J, Helbing S, Karaus E, Lattorff HM, Marxer M, Meeus I, Näpflin K, Niu J, Schmid-Hempel R, Smagghe G, Waterhouse RM, Yu N, Zdobnov EM, Schmid-Hempel P (2015) A depauperate immune repertoire precedes evolution of sociality in bees. Genome Biology 16:83

Sadd BM, Barribeau SM, Bloch G, de Graaf DC, Dearden P, Elsik CG, Gadau J, Grimmelikhuijzen CJ, Hasselmann M, Let al. (2015) The genomes of two key bumblebee species with primitive eusocial organization. Genome Biology 16:76

Stadler T, Kühnert D, Rasmussen DA, du Plessis L (2014) Insights into the early epidemic spread of ebola in sierra leone provided by viral sequence data. PLoS Currents DOI: 10.1371/currents.outbreaks.02bc6d927ecee7bbd33532ec8ba 6a25f

Barribeau SM, Sadd BM, du Plessis L, Schmid-Hempel P (2014) Gene expression differences underlying genotype-by-genotype specificity in a host-parasite system. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 111:3496-501

du Plessis L, Skunca N, Dessimoz C (2011) The what, where, how and why of gene ontology--a primer for bioinformaticians. Briefings in Bioinformatics 12:723-35

Research Interests