New NIGMS Grants to Advance Research on Modeling Infectious Disease Spread


August 15, 2011

The National Institutes of Health’s Models of Infectious Disease Agent Study (MIDAS) has added four projects to its international research network. MIDAS scientists build mathematical and computational models of infectious disease spread and evaluate the potential impact of different intervention strategies. They also work with public health officials and policymakers to help them prepare for and respond to infectious disease outbreaks. The new grants together total $12 million over the next 5 years.

The awards, which include three new research projects and the renewal of an existing project, have been made to:

  • Sara Del Valle, Ph.D., of Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, who will study how to model changes in people’s behavior in response to an infectious disease outbreak. She also will study the impact of uncertainty in the data, such as vaccination rates or number of infected people, on infectious disease models.
  • Stephen G. Eubank, Ph.D., of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute in Blacksburg, who will continue his work to develop software tools that public health officials can use to detect disease outbreaks and to choose the most effective response strategies.
  • Christopher Mores, Sc.D., of Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, who will develop mathematical models of the spread of mosquito-borne diseases, including dengue fever. The work will help researchers better understand how to interrupt transmission, preventing or slowing outbreaks.
  • Travis C. Porco, Ph.D., of the University of California, San Francisco, who will use computational models to determine what kinds of information to collect from people exposed to an infectious disease and how to use the data to design effective intervention strategies.