The College is primarily an academic research institution with particular strengths in the humanities and social and theoretical sciences and an outstanding library. It also has strong ties to public life. Although its Fellows are involved in teaching and supervision of research, there are no undergraduate members.
I am a philosopher of biology. My work explores the metaphysics and epistemology of biological science, especially the ontology of the living world. In particular, I have written about levels of selection and the problem of defining biological individuals. I am especially interested in social evolution and in evolved relations between parts and wholes, from bacteria to plants to people.
At the turn of the twenty-first century astronomers made the surprising discovery that our universe is expanding much faster than expected. The source of this mysterious accelerated expansion – sometimes dubbed 'dark energy' – is still unknown. My research focuses on alternative theories of gravity. I study these from both a formal (mathematical) perspective and an observational one: such alternative gravities should leave subtle signatures in the evolution and structure of the universe. Are the latest astronomical telescopes and satellite experiments sensitive enough to detect these effects?
I have two main fields of interest in my current research: early modern intellectual history, with a special focus on the philosopher Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679); and relations between Western Europe and the Ottoman/Islamic world in the early modern period. There is some overlap between the two, as the second field includes the development of Western thinking about such things as the nature of Ottoman rule and the doctrines of Islam.
My work concerns the dynamics and evolution of infections. I am interested in how quickly infections grow inside individuals, and also how fast they spread amongst individuals.
One of my projects asks if we can design individualised treatment regimens for people with chronic viral infections.
In a second project we ask how immune-driven evolution of HIV is causing new variants to spread through the human population.