Douglas Leasure

Senior Data Scientist

Doug’s research spans human demography, population ecology, geosciences, and Bayesian statistics. He develops novel methods to map populations and demographics with high spatial resolution using sparse survey data while accounting for uncertainty in population estimates to support informed decision-making for census support, government services, and global health initiatives. His interdisciplinary research combines powerful analytical approaches in human demography and population ecology with exciting new geospatial data derived from household surveys and space-based Earth observation platforms. To promote research with real-world impacts, Doug is committed to open science and develops web applications that translate scientific results into easy-to-navigate interactive maps and tools to facilitate uptake by stakeholders globally.


Before joining LCDS at the University of Oxford, Doug led the Spatial Statistical Population Modelling team in the WorldPop Research Group at the University of Southampton developing Bayesian statistical models and applying machine learning approaches to produce high resolution population estimates supporting initiatives of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the United Nations Population Fund. He was previously a post-doctoral research associate at the River Basin Center in the Odum School of Ecology, University of Georgia developing statistical models for NASA’s Ecological Forecasting program. He completed a PhD in Biological Sciences at the University of Arkansas where he held a Doctoral Academy Fellowship and was a post-doctoral research associate for the Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit of the United States Geological Survey.  



Full list of publications at Google Scholar


Leasure DR, Jochem WC, Weber EM, Seaman V, Tatem AJ. 2020. National population mapping from sparse survey data: A hierarchical Bayesian modeling framework to account for uncertainty. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 117(39):24173-24179. doi:10.1073/pnas.1913050117


Leasure DR, Wenger SJ, Chelgren ND, Neville HM, Dauwalter DC, Bjork R, Fesenmyer KA, Dunham JB, Peacock MM, Luce CH, Lute AC, Isaak DJ. 2018. Hierarchical multi-population viability analysis. Ecology 100(1). doi:10.1002/ecy.2538


Leasure DR, Bondarenko M, Darin E, Tatem AJ. 2021. wopr: An R package to query the WorldPop Open Population Repository, version 1.0.0. WorldPop, University of Southampton. doi:10.5258/SOTON/WP00716.