Research team

Principal Investigators

RobinRobin Purshouse, University of Sheffield, UK

Robin Purshouse received the MEng degree in Control Systems Engineering in 1999 and a PhD in Control Systems in 2004 for his research on multi-objective optimization. Alongside CASCADE co-investigators Alan Brennan and Petra Meier, he developed the original Sheffield Alcohol Policy Model (SAPM) in 2008. The model was principally used to analyse pricing and promotion policies, but subsequently expanded to cover screening and brief intervention policies in 2009. Robin was also lead modeler for the first two Scottish adaptations of SAPM, used to support the development of minimum unit pricing legislation in Scotland. Robin is interested in how dynamics and uncertainty can effectively be incorporated into public health policy models. He held an ESRC Future Research Leaders award (2012-2014) that developed a calibrated model of alcohol use in England based on a Theory of Planned Behavior generative mechanism, and which forms the preliminary findings for CASCADE.

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BillBill Kerr, Alcohol Research Group, US

Bio to follow.

JurgenJürgen Rehm, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Canada

Jürgen Rehm, PhD, holds positions at the CAMH (Toronto, Canada) as Director of the Institute for Mental Health Policy Research and Head of the PAHO WHO Collaborating Centre. In addition, he has been appointed the Inaugural Chair for Addiction Policy at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health of the University of Toronto, and section head for epidemiology at the Institute for Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy of the Technical University Dresden (Germany). Dr Rehm has published more than 800 peer-reviewed journal articles in addiction research; he is listed among the ISI/Thompson Reuters globally most highly cited in the fields of social research and epidemiology (top 1% with respect to impact as measured by citations) and has been awarded the Jellinek Award, the most prestigious award worldwide for alcohol research. He has served as consultant to many countries, and is member of the WHO Expert Advisory Panel of on Drug Dependence and Alcohol Problems.

EpsteinJoshua Epstein, Johns Hopkins University, US

Joshua M. Epstein is professor of emergency medicine at Johns Hopkins University (JHU), director of JHU’s Center for Advanced Modeling, and co-director of its Systems Institute. He holds joint appointments in applied mathematics, civil engineering, economics, environmental health sciences, biostatistics, and international health, and is an external professor at the Santa Fe Institute. A pioneer in agent-based modeling, Epstein has authored seminal books including Growing Artificial Societies: Social Science from the Bottom Up, with Robert Axtell; Generative Social Science: Studies in Agent-Based Computational Modeling; and Agent_Zero: Toward Neurocognitive Foundations for Generative Social Science. He holds a PhD from MIT and has taught at Princeton University and lectured worldwide. In 2008, he received an NIH Director’s Pioneer Award and in 2010, an honorary doctorate of science from Amherst College, his alma mater.


HaoHao Bai, University of Sheffield, UK

Hao Bai had a MEng degree in Electrical Engineering in 2004 and a PhD in Railway Engineering in 2010 for his research in condition monitoring on safety-critical railway assets. Since 2011, he has been working on agent-based modeling in different fields. A cellular level simulation of bacteria Escherichia coli and its response to oxygen supplies helped molecular biologist to obtain a new spatial view of how the transcription factors react to changes of oxygen level. He also applied agent-based modeling on patient flow in NHS A&E department to help improve its efficiency and reliability by sorting out complex logic.

AlexandraAlexandra Nielsen, Alcohol Research Group, US

Alex is currently pursuing a PhD in systems science from Portland State University. In her dissertation research she uses an agent based model to explore policies to expand treatment capacity for opioid use disorder in the US. As a part of that research she is developing a metric of access inequality combining the Lorenz curve and Gini coefficient and the gravity model of spatial potential accessibility. She hopes to complete her dissertation research by summer 2017. Alex also teaches discrete event simulation and system dynamics modeling (on occasion) in the systems science program at Portland State University.


AlanAlan Brennan, University of Sheffield, UK

Alan Brennan is Professor of Health Economics and Decision Modelling in the School of Health and Related Research at the University of Sheffield. He studied for BSc Mathematics at Imperial College London and then MSc Operational Research at the London School of Economics before joining the NHS to work in and then lead the Trent Operational Research Unit. Since 1994, Alan has been leading the modeling team at ScHARR. He has been developing and applying modelling in support of healthcare decision-making nationally and internationally, across a large range of diseases, interventions, service planning and policy issues for over 25 years. Alan is a regular expert on several NICE Scientific Advice Programme panels, providing input to the design of phase III studies from an economic/NICE perspective, usually for global pharmaceutical and device manufacturers.

TomTom Greenfield, Alcohol Research Group, US

Bio to follow.

PetraPetra Meier, University of Sheffield, UK

Petra Meier studied psychology at the University of Heidelberg in Germany, before completing an MSc by Res in Child Health (University of Hertfordshire) and a PhD in Epidemiology & Health Sciences (University of Manchester). She was a Lecturer in Psychology for two years after her doctorate, before joining the University of Sheffield in 2006 where she is now Professor of Public Health. Petra is the Director of the Sheffield Alcohol Research Group, a leading international centre for alcohol policy modelling research with 16 team members, funded by grants from MRC, ESRC, EU, NIHR, NIAAA, DH, Scottish, Irish and Welsh Government, Cancer Research UK and Alcohol Research UK. Petra is also the Director of the University of Sheffield’s Wellcome Trust PhD Scholarships in Public Health Economics and Decision Science and took over as ScHARR’s Postgraduate Director of Research in early 2016.

PaulPaul Shuper, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Canada

Bio to follow.

MarkMark Strong, University of Sheffield, UK

Mark is an academic public health doctor and a statistician. He is a Reader in Public Health Decision Making and Director of the Public Health Section at ScHARR. Mark's research interests relate to the management of uncertainty and the value of information in decision making - and specifically, what is the value of spending time improving a computer model versus collecting new data. He has developed fast and efficient methods for computing value of information measures, and published on the 'Expected Value of Model Improvement'. Mark leads on uncertainty management for the CASCADE project, including development of model calibration methods for agent-based models and microsimulations.

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GillGill Valentine, University of Sheffield, UK

Bio to follow.