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Nicholas Geard
Senior Lecturer
School of Computing and Information Systems
Melbourne School of Engineering
Senior Research Fellow
Centre for Epidemiology and Biostatistics
Melbourne School of Population and Global Health


I have recently (October 2016) joined the Department of Computing and Information Systems, University of Melbourne as a Senior Lecturer. I am also Senior Research Fellow with the Centre for Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, where I have been based for the last five years, developing computational models of infectious disease transmission and control.

Prior to arriving in Melbourne, I was a member of the (former)
Science and Engineering of Natural Systems Group, University of Southampton, working with Prof Seth Bullock (2007-2010). I obtained my BSc (2001) and PhD (2006) in computer science at the School of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering, University of Queensland, supervised by Prof Janet Wiles.

Current CV (July 2016).

Research Activities

I am currently a CI on a National Health & Medical Research Council Centre of Research Excellence on Policy-Relevant Infectious Disease Simulation and Mathematical Modelling.

My current research concerns: 
  • the impact of demographic changes—births, deaths, household formation and dissolution—on the dynamics of disease spread and patterns of immunity.
  • parental attitudes and behaviours around childhood vaccination.
  • social connectedness and health.
Broadly, my research interests are in the application of computational simulation models to the study of complex biological, social and artificial systems.  Past areas of research interest have included search on neutral fitness landscapes; the structure and dynamics of gene regulatory networks, particularly those involved in development; the interplay between development and evolution; the coevolution of state and topology in dynamic networks; and the dynamics of meso-level structures such as groups and communities in social networks.

Other Activities

Prior to arriving in Melbourne, I spent a few months on a bike.



Cuningham W, Geard N, Fielding J, McVernon J, Moss, R. Optimal timing of influenza vaccination during pregnancy: a systematic review.

Campbell PT, McVernon J, Shrestha N, Nathan PM, Geard N. Who's holding the baby? A prospective diary study of the contact patterns of very young infants.

Vino T, Singh GR, Davison B, Campbell PT, Lydeamore M, Robinson A, McVernon J, Tong SYC, Geard N. Indigenous Australian household structure: a simple data collection tool and implications for close contact transmission of communicable diseases.

journals: articles

Campbell PT, McVernon J, Geard N (2017) Determining best strategies for maternally-targeted pertussis vaccination using an individual based model. American Journal of Epidemiology 186 (1):109-117.

Black AJ, Geard N, McCaw JM, McVernon J, Ross JV (2017) Inference of epidemiological parameters from data collected during first few hundred studies. Epidemics 19:61-73.

Campbell PT, McVernon J, McIntyre P, Geard N (2016) Influence of population demography and immunization history on the impact of an antenatal pertussis program. Clinical Infectious Diseases 63 (suppl 4):S213-S220.

Moss R, Hickson R, Hort K, Black J, McCaw JM, Tran N, McVernon J, Madden J, McBryde ES, Geard N (2016) Model-informed risk assessment and decision making for an emerging infectious disease in the Asia-Pacific region. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases 10(9):e0005018.

Rolls D*Geard N*Warr DJ, Nathan PM, Robins GL, Pattison PE, McCaw JM, McVernon J (2015) Social encounter profiles of greater Melbourne residents, by location – a telephone survey. BMC Infectious Diseases, 15:494. (* equal contribution)

Ragonnet R, Trauer JM, Denholm JT, Geard N, Hellard M, McBryde ES (2015) Vaccination programs for endemic infections: modelling real versus apparent impacts of vaccine and infection characteristics. Scientific Reports, 15:15468.

Geard N, Glass K, McCaw JM, McBryde E, Korb, K, Keeling MJ, McVernon J (2015) The effects of demographic change on disease transmission and vaccine impact in a household structured population. Epidemics, 13:56-64.

Dorin A, Geard N (2014) The practice of agent-based model visualisation. Artificial Life, 20(2): 271-289.

Geard N, McCaw J, Dorin A, Korb KB, McVernon J (2013) Synthetic population dynamics: a model of household demography. Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, 16(1):8.

Jacyno M, Bullock S, Geard N, Payne TR, Luck M (2013) Self-organising agent communities for autonomic resource management. Adaptive Behavior, 21(1):3-28.

Geard N, Bullock S, Lohaus R, Azevedo RBR, Wiles J (2011) Developmental motifs reveal complex structure in cell lineages. Complexity, 16(4):48-57.

Bryden J*, Funk S*Geard N*, Bullock S, Jansen V (2011) Stability in flux: Community structure in dynamic networks. Journal of the Royal Society Interface, 8(60):1031-1040. (* equal contribution)

Geard N, Bullock S (2010) Competition and the dynamics of group affiliation. Advances in Complex Systems, 13(4):501-517.

Bullock S, Geard N (2011) Spatial embedding as an enabling constraint. Complexity, 16(2):8-10.

Geard N, Willadsen K (2009) Dynamical approaches to modeling developmental gene regulatory networks. Birth Defects Research C: Embryo Today, 87(2):131-142.

Geard N, Wiles J (2008) LinMap: visualising complexity gradients in evolutionary landscapes. Artificial Life, 14(3):277-297.

Lohaus R, Geard N, Wiles J, Azevedo RBR (2007) A generative bias towards average complexity in artificial cell lineages. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B, 274(1619):1741-1750.

Geard N, Wiles J (2005) A gene network model for developing cell lineages. Artificial Life, 11(3):249-268.

Copren KA, Geard N (2005) An individual based model examining the emergence of cooperative recognition in a social insect. Sociobiology, 46(2):349-361.

Watson J, Geard N, Wiles J (2004) Towards more biological mutation operators in gene regulation studies. BioSystems, 76(1-3):239-248.

book chapters

Korb KB, Geard N, Dorin A (2013) A Bayesian approach to the validation of agent-based models. In: A. Tolk (Ed.) Ontology, Epistemology, and Teleology for Modeling and Simulation, pp. 255-269, Springer.

conferences: full papers

Silverman E, Geard N, Wood I. (2016) Job insecurity in academic research employment: an agent-based model. In: ALIFE XV: The 15th International Conference on the Synthesis and Simulation of Living Systems, 4-8 July, 2016, Cancún, Mexico.

Geard, N, Madden, JR, McBryde, E, Moss, R and Tran, NH (2016) Modelling the economic impacts of epidemics in developing countries under alternative intervention strategies. In: 19th Annual Conference on Global Economic Analysis, June 15-17, 2016, Washington DC.

Geard N, McCaw J, Dorin A, Korb KB, McVernon J (2012) Modelling household dynamics for epidemiological simulation. In: 4th World Congress on Social Simulation, 4-7 September, 2012, Taipei, Taiwan.

Geard N, Noble J (2010) Modelling academic research funding as a resource allocation problem. In: 3rd World Congress on Social Simulation, 6-9 September, 2010, Kassel, Germany.

Geard N, Bullock S (2009) Homophily and competition: a model of group affiliation. In: The Sixth Conference of the European Social Simulation Association, 14-18 September, 2009, Guildford, UK.

Jacyno M, Bullock S, Payne TR, Geard N, Luck M (2008) Autonomic resource management through self-organising agent communities. In: Second IEEE International Conference on Self-Adaptive and Self-Organizing Systems, October 20-24, 2008, Venice, Italy.

Geard N, Bullock S (2008) Group formation and social evolution: a computational model. In: Artificial Life XI: Proceedings of the Eleventh International Conference on the Simulation and Synthesis of Living Systems, pp. 197-203, MIT Press, Cambridge, MA.

Geard N, Wiles J (2007) Directed evolution of an artificial cell lineage. In: Progress in Artificial Life, Third Australian Conference, ACAL 2007, Proceedings, pp. 144-155, Springer-Verlag.

Geard N, Bullock S (2007) Milieu and function: toward a multilayer framework for understanding social networks. In: the Ninth European Conference on Artificial Life; Workshop: The Emergence of Social Behaviour, Lisbon, Portugal.

Geard N, Wiles J (2006) Investigating ontogenetic space with developmental cell lineages. In: Artificial Life X: Proceedings of the Tenth International Conference on the Simulation and Synthesis of Living Systems, pp. 55-62, MIT Press.

Rudge T, Geard N (2005) Evolving gene regulatory networks for cellular morphogenesis. In: Recent Advances in Artificial Life, Second Australian Conference, ACAL 2005, Proceedings, pp. 239-252, World Scientific Publishing.

Geard N, Willadsen K, Wiles J (2005) Perturbation analysis: a complex systems pattern. In: Recent Advances in Artificial Life, Second Australian Conference, ACAL 2005, Proceedings, pp. 69-84, World Scientific Publishing.

Skellett B, Cairns B, Geard N, Tonkes B, Wiles J (2005) Rugged NK landscapes contain the highest peaks. In: Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference, GECCO 2005, Proceedings, pp. 579-584, ACM Press.

Wiles J, Geard N, Watson J, Willadsen K, Mattick J, Bradley D, Hallinan J (2005) There's more to a model than code: understanding and formalizing in silico modeling experience. In: Workshop on Scalable, Evolvable, Emergent Design and Developmental Systems at The Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference, GECCO 2005, Washington DC, USA. pp. 281-288.

Geard N, Wiles J (2003) A gene regulatory network for cell differentiation in Caenorhabditis elegans. In: Proceedings of the First Australian Conference on Artificial Life, pp. 86-100, University of New South Wales.

Geard N, Wiles J (2003) Structure and dynamics of a gene network model incorporating small RNAs. In: Proceedings of the 2003 Congress on Evolutionary Computation, CEC 2003, Volume 1, pp. 199-206, IEEE Press.

Watson J, Geard N, Wiles J (2003) Towards more biological mutation operators in gene regulation studies. In: Information Processing in Cells and Tissues (IPCAT2003), Lausanne, Switzerland.

Geard N, Wiles J, Hallinan J, Tonkes B, Skellett B (2002) A comparison of neutral landscapes - NK, NKp and NKq. In: Proceedings of the 2002 Congress on Evolutionary Computation, pp. 205-210, IEEE Press.

Geard N, Wiles J (2002) Diversity maintenance on neutral landscapes: an argument for recombination. In: Proceedings of the 2002 Congress on Evolutionary Computation, pp. 211-213, IEEE Press.

Watson J, Geard N, Wiles J (2002) Stability and task complexity: a neural network model of genetic assimilation. In: Artificial Life VIII: Proceedings of the Eighth International Conference on Artificial Life, p. 153, MIT Press.

reviews, reports and theses

Geard N (2010) Book review of Thilo Gross and Hiroki Sayama's "Adaptive Networks: Theory, Models and Applications". Artificial Life, 16(4):329-331.

Geard N (2006) Artificial Ontogenies: A Computational Model of the Control and Evolution of Development. PhD thesis, The University of Queensland.

Geard N (2006) Two design patterns for visualising the parameter space of complex systems. Technical Report ACCS-TR-06-02, ARC Centre for Complex Systems, The University of Queensland.

Geard N (2004) Modelling gene regulatory networks: systems biology to complex systems. Technical Report ACCS-TR-04-01, School of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering, The University of Queensland.

Fischer W, Geard N (2002) Reconstructing phylogeny from RNA secondary structure via simulated evolution. In: Santa Fe Institute Complex Systems Summer School 2002, June 2002, Santa Fe, NM.

Geard N (2001) An Exploration of NK Landscapes with Neutrality. BSc (Hons) thesis, The University of Queensland.