Marya Poterek

Graduate Student




I'm a PhD student in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Notre Dame, where I am a member of the Perkins Lab. Research in the Perkins Lab applies computational approaches to answer questions about the ecology and epidemiology of infectious diseases. I am particularly interested in analyzing the role of human behavior and communications in the spread of infectious disease. Fear of disease, particularly of an illness that is notably severe or contagious, can spread farther and faster than the disease itself and lead to adaptive, often self-isolating behaviors that can change the course of an outbreak, as we are now observing in real time during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, an understanding of how disease-related information is disseminated and how it impacts human behavior can meaningfully inform pathogen transmission models and inform optimal intervention strategies. I am also excited by the use of nontraditional data and network approaches in mathematical models. Network-centric approaches to epidemiology are a powerful way to incorporate population interactions into models of infectious disease, and as social media and cyber-physical system data become increasingly available, I hope to take advantage of the unique ways they can inform models of human behavior.

Preferred Pronouns


Personal Academic Website

Research/Topics of Interest

Agent-based models
Compartmental models
Network models
New methods development
Social networks/contact patterns
Statistical models

Pathogens/Diseases of Main Interest/Expertise

Vector-borne diseases

Countries of Work/Collaboration

United States



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