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.
New methods development
Social networks/contact patterns
Poterek ML, Vogels CBF, Grubaugh ND, Ebel GD, Alex Perkins T, Cavany SM. (2022). Interactions between seasonal temperature variation and temporal synchrony drive increased arbovirus co-infection incidence. Royal Society open science, 9(10)
España G, Cavany S, Oidtman R, Barbera C, Costello A, Lerch A, Poterek M, Tran Q, Wieler A, Moore S, Perkins TA. (2021). Impacts of K-12 school reopening on the COVID-19 epidemic in Indiana, USA. Epidemics, (37)
Poterek ML, Kraemer MUG, Watts A, Khan K, Perkins TA. (2021). Air Passenger Travel and International Surveillance Data Predict Spatiotemporal Variation in Measles Importations to the United States. Pathogens (Basel, Switzerland), 10(2)
Perkins TA, Cavany SM, Moore SM, Oidtman RJ, Lerch A, Poterek M. (2020). Estimating unobserved SARS-CoV-2 infections in the United States. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America