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Natural History Museum
Cromwell Road



  • 2001-2005: DPhil (Molecular Evolution) University of Oxford 
  • 2000-2001: MSc (Distinction) Integrative Bioscience, University of Oxford
  • 1995-1998: MA (Hons) Biology, University of Oxford 

Previous Posts

  • 2006-2008 Biotechnology Analyst, KBC Bank
  • 1999-2000 UNAM/Earthwatch Europe Project Leader, Jalisco State, Mexico

Professional Roles


  • 2008-2011: Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellowship

Previous Awards

  • 2001: Wellcome Trust Biodiversity Studentship
  • 2000: BBSRC Research Masters Studentship
  • 1998: Soper Bursary for Overseas Research


External Collaborations

  • Prof X. de Lamballerie, Unite des Virus Emergents, Marseille, France
  • Prof. E C. Holmes, Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics, Penn State University, USA
  • Dr L.G. Mukwaya, Uganda Virus Research Institute, Entebbe, Uganda.
  • Dr P. Somboon, Faculty of Medicine, Chiang Mai University, Thailand
  • Dr N.D.Manh, Department of Entomology, National Institute of Malariology, Hanoi, Vietnam
  • Dr R. Hewson, Health Protection Agency, UK
  • Dr N,J.Besansky, Eck Institute for Global Health,University of Notre Dame, USA


Project name

Emerging arboviruses: the effect of vector and host biology and genetic diversity on the emergence and maintenance of the flaviviruses.

Research Aims

I am interested in the underlying causes of viral emergence, potential sources of novel viruses, and the insect vectors that transmit pathogens. A major focus of my research is the mosquitoes and other insects that spread disease to humans. My work is funded by the Wellcome Trust, the largest charity in the UK.

Often, the mosquito species responsible for a given epidemic, and its ecology, are not accurately known. Together with my mentor here at the Museum, Dr Ralph Harbach, we are developing accurate, cheap and easy ways to discover which mosquito species are implicated in disease transmission. We work closely with other scientists in Africa and Asia to collect samples, primarily mosquitoes. The insects are screened for known and as yet undiscovered viral strains. We then develop morphological and molecular DNA methods to identify the mosquito species to aid investigation of the factors that are responsible for disease epidemics. This should allow control efforts to be accurately targeted and hence make the most efficient use of limited resources in developing countries.

I focus on viruses that belong to the genus Flavivirus. This includes dengue fever virus, Yellow Fever virus, and West Nile virus. Flaviviruses can be either (i) arthropod-borne, transmitted to vertebrate hosts by mosquitoes and ticks, (ii) have no known vector, presumed to be limited to vertebrates, or (iii) appear to be limited to insects alone. Thus, these viruses represent a unique model for studying the evolution of vector-borne viral diseases. My research aims to provide the genetic and ecological data needed to understand the processes by which flaviviruses have evolved to exploit different hosts and vectors, elucidating the general principles underlying cross-species transmission and viral emergence.



  • Cook, S., Moureau, G., Kitchen, A., Gould, E.A., De Lamballerie, X., Holmes, E.C. & Harbach, R.    ( 2011 ) Molecular Evolution of the Insect-Specific Flaviviruses Journal of General Virology . 10.1099/vir.0.036525-0
  • Baronti, C.X., Goitia, N.J., Cook, S., Roca, Y., Revollo, J., Flores, J.V., de Lamballerie X. ( 2010 ) Molecular Epidemiology of Yellow fever in Bolivia, 1999-2008. Vector Borne and Zoonotic Diseases . 10.1089/vbz.2010.0017
  • Cook, S. Lien N.G., McAlister, E. & Harbach, R. ( 2010 ) Bothaella manhi, a new species of tribe Aedini (Diptera: Culicidae) from the Cuc Phuong National Park of Vietnam based on morphology and DNA sequence. Zootaxa 2661 : 33-46 .
  • Zhioua, E., Moureau, G., Chelbi, I., Ninove, L., Bichaud, L., Derbali, M., Champs, M., Saifeddine Cherni, S., Salez, N., Cook, S., de Lamballerie, X., and Charrel, R.N ( 2010 ) Punique virus, a novel phlebovirus, related to sandfly fever Naples virus, isolated from sandflies collected in Tunisia. Journal of General Virology 91 : 1275-1283 . 10.1099/vir.0.019240-0
  • Bollati, M., Alvarez, K., Assenberg, R., Baronti, C., Canard, B., Cook, S., Coutard, B., Decroly, E., De Lamballerie, X., Gould, E.A., Grard, G., Grimes, J.M., Hilgenfeld, R., Jansson, A.M., Malet, H., Mancini, E.J., Mastrangelo, E., Mattevi, A., Milani, M., Moureau, G., Neyts, J., Owens, R.J., Ren, J., Selisko, B., Speroni, S., Steuber, H., Stuart, D.I., Unge, T. and Bolognesi, M. ( 2009 ) Structure and Functionality in Flavivirus NS-proteins: Perspectives for drug design. Antiviral Research . 10.1016/j.antiviral.2009.11.009
  • Cook, S., Moureau, G., Harbach, R.E., Mukwaya, L., Goodger, K., Ssenfuka, F., Gould, E., Holmes, E.C., De Lamballerie, X. ( 2009 ) Isolation of a new species of flavivirus and a novel strain of Culex flavivirus (Flaviviridae), from a natural mosquito population in Uganda. Journal of General Virology 90 : 2669–2678 . 10.1099/vir.0.014183-0
  • Moureau, G., Ninove, L., Izri, A., Cook, S., de Lamballerie X., and Charrel, R.N. ( 2009 ) Flavivirus RNA in phlebotomine sandflies. Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases . DOI:10.1089/vbz.2008.0216
  • Roca, Y., Baronti, C., Revollo, R.J., Cook, S., Loayza, R., Ninove, L., Fernandez, R.T. Flores, J.V. Herve, J-P. and de Lamballerie, X. ( 2009 ) Molecular epidemiological analysis of dengue fever in Bolivia from 1998 to 2008 Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases 9 : 337-344 . 10.1089/vbz.2008.0187
  • Cook, S. and Holmes, E.C. ( 2006 ) A multigene analysis of the phylogenetic relationships
    among the flaviviruses (Family: Flaviviridae) and the evolution of vector transmission Archives of Virology 151 : 309-325 .
  • Cook, S. Bennett, S.N., Holmes, E.C., De Chesse, R. Moureau, G. and de Lamballerie, X. ( 2006 ) Isolation of a new strain of the flavivirus cell fusing agent virus in a natural mosquito population from Puerto Rico. Journal of General Virology 87 : 735-748 .
  • Grard , G., Lemasson, J.-J., Sylla, M., Dubot, A., Cook, S., Molez. J.-F., Pourrut, X., Charrel, R., Gonzalez, J.-P., Munderloh, U., Holmes, E.C. and de Lamballllerie, X ( 2006 ) Ngoye virus: a novel evolutionary lineage within the genus Flavivirus. Journal of General Virology 87 : 3273-3277 .
  • Cook, S., Diallo, M., Sall, A.A., Cooper, A., and Holmes, E.C. ( 2005 ) Mitochondrial markers for molecular identification of Aedes mosquitoes (Diptera: Culicidae) involved in
    transmission of arboviral disease in West Africa Journal of Medical Entomology 42 : 19-28 .
  • Crochu, S. Cook, S., Attoui, H., Charrel, R., De Cheese, R., Belhouchet. M., Lemasson, J.-J., de Micco, P., and de Lamballerie, X. ( 2004 ) Sequences of flavivirus-related RNA viruses persist in DNA form integrated in the genome of Aedes spp. mosquitoes. Journal of General Virology 85 : 1971-1980 .
  • Mundy, N., and Cook, S. ( 2003 ) Positive selection during the diversification of Class I
    Vomeronasal Receptor-like (V1RL) genes, putative pheromone receptor genes, in human and primate evolution. Molecular Biology and Evolution 20 : 1805-1810 .