Dr Rupert Quinnell


I joined the University of Leeds as MRC Career Development Fellow in 1997, and was appointed as a Lecturer in 2001 and promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2008.

My PhD was carried out in the Dept of Zoology at Oxford from 1986-1990, followed by postdoctoral work at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine from 1990-1997. This included several years based at the Instituto Evandro Chagas, Belem, Brazil.


  • Programme Leader, MRes/MSc Biodiversity and Conservation
  • Biology Link Tutor for Joint Honours

Research interests

My research aims to identify the environmental and host factors that determine parasite abundance, and to use this knowledge to inform disease control programmes.  Research focuses on two groups of important human parasites: helminths and Leishmania.  This involves a combination of longitudinal field studies, quantitative analysis, and laboratory studies of host genetics and immunology. 

My current research is focused on the epidemiology and control of the pig tapeworm, Taenia solium.  Human infection with the larval stages of the parasite causes cysticercosis, which is a major cause of epilepsy, particularly in low income countries. With colleagues in the University of Rwanda, the University of Liverpool and International Livestock Research Institute, we are studying the importance of cysticercosis in Rwanda for human health and agricultural production.  The overall aim is to develop a national plan for disease control. Our objectives are to collect data on pig production methods and economics, to estimate the prevalence of infection in pork entering the food chain and in pigs and humans across the country, and to determine the risk factors for infection in humans and pigs. We will then use these results, and inputs from important stakeholders, to develop a national control strategy. This research is funded by a MRC GCRF Foundation Award.

Other areas of interest include the epidemiology of human helminth infection and role of host genetics.  Using quantitative genetic approaches, and data from large field studies in Brazil and Papua New Guinea, I am exploring the importance of host genetic factors in controlling whether people are heavily infected with helminth parasites.   

Previous studies on visceral leishmaniasis in Brazil have investigated the epidemiology of infection in domestic dogs, the use of novel canine insecticide treatments to control infection, and the identification of resistance loci in dogs. This work was carried out in collaboration with the University of Warwick, University of Manchester, Instituto Evandro Chagas, Brazil, and Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona. 

Funding for my research has come from the UK Medical Research Council, European Union and Wellcome Trust.

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://biologicalsciences.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • DPhil, Oxford.
  • BA Natural Sciences, Cambridge

Professional memberships

  • British Society for Parasitology

Student education

I teach on and manage a range of modules from first year to MSc level. I am the Programme Leader for the MRes and MSc in Biodiversity and Conservation and Joint Honours Tutor for Biology

Research groups and institutes

  • Heredity, Development and Disease
  • Ecology and Evolution
<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>