Professor James McCaw

I am Professor of Mathematical Biology and a past Australian Research Council Future Fellow (2011-15) at the University of Melbourne. I hold a split appointment between the School of Mathematics and Statistics and the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, where I am Head of the Infectious Disease Dynamics Unit in the Centre for Epidemiology and Biostatistics. My interests lie in the application of mathematics, computation and data-analytics to a broad range of problems in infectious diseases biology, epidemiology and public health.

My research team is supported through funding from the Australian Research Council, National Health and Medical Research Council, and government departments including Health, Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Defence.

If you are interested in working or studying in my group, please contact me.

Recent news

Melbourne Mathematical Biology

Our Melbourne Mathematical Biology group in the School of Mathematics and Statistics has put together a series of videos describing our research.


Since January 2020 I have supported Australia's response to the COVID-19 pandemic through provision of expert advice to key national committees. Between January 2020 and April 2022 I was one of three invited expert members of the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee, a sub-committee of the National Cabinet. I have worked with the Chief Medical Officer of Australia and the states' and territories' Chief Health Officers to guide our response to the pandemic. I am a member of the Communicable Disease Network of Australia and have contributed to the development of the Australian National Disease Surveillance Plan for COVID-19. I co-lead with Dr Freya Shearer a national consortium providing situational assessment to government, delivering a weekly report on the status of the epidemic across all Australian jurisdictions. We provide nowcasts and forecasts of epidemic activity including assessment of anticipated clinical loads. I have also supported a team of nearly 40 modellers, epidemiologists and biostatisticians providing additional modelling support for pandemic preparedness and response throughout the pandemic in partnership with the Doherty Institute.

If you are thinking about how you might be able to contribute, please do get in touch.

Technical reports COVID-19 epidemiology and modelling

Note: Peer-reviewed publications and pre-prints can be found here.

Media and other contributions

May 2018

With our collaborators at DST Group, Rob Moss and I have been awarded the CivSec 2018 Innovation Award for Disaster Relief, Emergency Management and Humanitarian Services and the overall CivSec 2018 National Innovation Award for Civil Security for our outbreak detection and epidemic forecasting work.

Dr Tony Lau and I receive the CivSec2018 National Innovation Award for Civil Security

November 2017

I have been promoted to Professor and also now hold an honorary appointment at the Doherty Institute.

October 2017

ACREME, the NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence in Malaria Elimination, on which I am an investigator, was announced this week, led by Professor Stephen Rogerson at the Doherty Institute. We'll be looking to hire new staff in 2018 to deliver on a 5-year program of research combining clinical, therapeutic, diagnostic, mathematical and epidemiological approaches, so contact me if you are interested in hearing more.

November 2016

With Associate Professor Julie Simpson, Dr Federico Frascoli (Swinburne) and Associate Professor Jane Heffernan (York, Canada), I received an ARC Discovery Project "Mathematical and statistical methods for modelling invivo pathogen dynamics" (2017 - 19). The grant will support our research on within-host dynamics of influenza infection and pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic modelling for malaria.

August 2016

With Professor Leann Tilley, I received the 2016 Australian Museum Eureka Prize for Infectious Diseases Research.