Bill Hanage

Associate Professor
Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics, Department of Epidemiology

Dr. Hanage is interested in pathogen evolution, which his lab investigates using modern population genomic methods and simple models, for many different infectious diseases. To understand the variation we observe in pathogen populations, we need theory to explain what we expect under different evolutionary histories, and the lab actively works to develop these methods with a particular focus on recombination and horizontal gene transfer, which has the ability to transfer genetic material encoding important traits like drug resistance or virulence among strains. His current projects focus on ways to understand how major successful resistant lineages emerge and persist, and how genomic data can be used to reconstruct transmission trees. He maintains a long-standing interest in the question of whether a useful species concept can be developed for bacteria. During his post-doctoral work at Imperial College London, he worked extensively on Multi-locus Sequence Typing (MLST) and remains a curator of the pneumococcal MLST database at He has been awarded honors including the Fleming Prize for his work. He tweets at @BillHanage.