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THE SPREAD AND EVOLUTION OF PARASITES ON HOST NETWORKS

Abstract

Contact network epidemiology is a new and powerful mathematical approach to study the ecology of infectious diseases. It involves building realistic models of the complex host contact patterns that underlie disease transmission, and then applying methods from statistical physics to predict outbreak dynamics. This project will extend these methods to study disease spread through modular host populations - those consisting of highly intra-connected subgroups - and then address specific questions about viral diseases in Serengeti carnivore populations. This project will also train students from kindergarten through graduate school through participation in the research, new courses, and the development of web-distributed teaching materials on infectious disease ecology and evolution. As the field of mathematical biology becomes increasingly critical to scientific progress, there is demand for a new generation of computational tools and researchers who can use them effectively. This project will yield a more versatile mathematical framework for predicting disease spread and a better understanding of multi-host disease transmission, a topic of great importance to the health of humans, domestic animals, and wildlife populations of conservation concern. It will provide young men and women from diverse backgrounds the opportunity to experience the utility, accessibility and excitement of mathematical biology.

People

Funding Source

Project Period

2008-2013