Dr Tony Fulford

Biography & Research

Tanmay Toucan

On the Zambezi River, Zambia, October 2014.

My background is in medical research in Africa.  I work for 14 years as statistician in the Department of Pathology in Cambridge on the immunology and epidemiology Schistosomiasis in Kenya and Uganda, a joint project with the Kenyan Medical Research Institute and the Departments of Health in Kenya and Uganda.  The chronic nature of this infection allows a window on the development of the immune response over a timespan of decades: we demonstrated that the effective TH2 (IgE) immune response appears to be host-age dependent and does not develop until after puberty.

After that I worked for 15 years in nutrition research with the Medical Research Council’s International Nutrition Group.  The wide-ranging research of this group was largely conducted at a field station at Keneba in the Gambia.  Particular focuses were the interactions between iron, anaemia and infection, fetal and infant growth and early (nutritional) determinants of adult disease.  The analysis of longitudinal growth and seasonality (and other cyclic) data, genetic and epigenetic association analysis.

In both posts I provided statistical and data management support to the research team.  In Keneba I directed the development of a demographic surveillance system, the computerisation of the clinic and a DNA/biobank, all of which were integrated with one another and with data generated by the numerous research projects (ref).

I joined the Department of Zoology as an academic visitor from Oct 2014.  Here I have been engaged in a number of projects including analysis of Major Colebrook-Robjent’s egg collection data (with Claire Spottiswoode), modelling overheating of ground-nesting birds’ eggs exposed to the intense tropical sun of Zambia (with Nick Horrocks), maintaining the cohort of PIT-tagged Great Tits in Madingley Wood and analysis of data from these and other projects (with Hannah Rowland) and changes in women’s attraction and attractiveness associated with hormonal changes due to the menstrual cycle or hormonal contraception use (Rob Burriss and Hannah Rowland).

My publications can be found on my Google Scholar page where (as of Oct 2015) my lifetime H-index is given as 42 (28 since 2010).

My other interests include bird ringing and wildlife sound recording.


Dixit, T., English, S. & Lukas, D. (2017), The relationship between egg size and helper number in cooperative breeders: a meta-analysis across species. PeerJ 5:e4028; DOI 10.7717/peerj.4028. Read on journal website [Open Access]


New paper on host-specific mimicry by indigobird and whydah chicks

In a new paper published in Evolution, Dr Gabriel Jamie along with Silky Hamama, Collins Moya and Prof. Claire Spottiswoode from the African Cuckoos team and collaborators from University of Puerto Rico (Steven Van Belleghem), Princeton University (Dr Cassie Stoddard and Dr Ben Hogan) and University of Cambridge (Professor Rebecca Kilner) provide evidence of host-specific mimicry in the indigobirds and whydahs of Africa. Building on the pioneering work of Robert Payne and Jürgen Nicolai, they provide quantitative evidence that nestling Vidua finches mimic the patterns, colours and begging calls of their host’s nestling, and qualitative evidence of mimicry of host movements.

Pick of the month in Trends in Ecology and Evolution

Dr Gabriel Jamie and Dr Joana Meier’s paper “The Persistence of Polymorphisms across Species Radiations” has been selected by Trends in Ecology and Evolution as the journal Editor’s pick of the month. Read the full paper here: https://tinyurl.com/y29l4ygr

Launching Honeyguiding.me for all bird enthusiasts in Africa!

Honeyguiding.me is a citizen science project for which we welcome all records of Greater Honeyguides anywhere in Africa. Visit our Honeyguiding.me project site in English, en français & em Português!
Please also follow the Honeyguide Research Project on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram @honeyguiding.