New Grants to Model the Spread of Infectious Diseases

Announcement Date:

At a time when infectious diseases are at the forefront of world attention, the National Institute of General Medical Sciences recently awarded 10 grants in a program that uses computational, statistical and mathematical approaches to model disease spread and the potential impact of intervention strategies. The program, a collaborative network called the Models of Infectious Disease Agent Study (MIDAS), now supports 14 research groups, including seven new and three renewed ones.

The new 5-year grants are:

  • Center for Statistics and Quantitative Infectious Diseases (U54GM111274)
    Principal investigator: M. Elizabeth Halloran, M.D., D.Sc., Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Washington

    This center will oversee a collaborative effort among eight research institutions across the United States focusing on a multidisciplinary approach to computational, statistical and mathematical modeling of influenza, dengue fever, polio and other infectious diseases. The center will also support training and outreach programs in infectious disease modeling.
  • Development and Dissemination of Operational Real-Time Respiratory Virus Forecast (U01GM110748)
    Principal investigator: Jeffrey Shaman, Ph.D., Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, New York, New York

    This research group will expand the real-time flu forecasting system that it built using methods from weather and climate modeling and apply it to additional infectious diseases, including other respiratory viruses and Ebola.
  • Forecasting Tipping Points in Emerging and Re-Emerging Infectious Diseases (U01GM110744)
    Principal investigators: John Drake, Ph.D., and Andrew Park, Ph.D., University of Georgia, Athens; Matthew Ferrari, Ph.D., Penn State University, University Park, Pennsylvania; Pejman Rohani, Ph.D., and Bogdan Epurean, Ph.D., University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

    This research group will focus on developing modeling methods that could serve as an early warning system for infectious disease outbreaks.
  • MIDAS Informatics Services Group (U24GM110707)
    Principal investigator: Michael Wagner, Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

    This informatics resource will build a Web-based platform that will allow researchers to access modeling software and data.
  • Modeling Epidemic Infectious Diseases Using Sequence Analysis (U01GM110749)
    Principal investigator: Sergei Pond, Ph.D., University of California, San Diego

    This research group will model the rapidly evolving genetic sequences of pathogens, study how this information can be used to better understand disease transmission networks within communities and evaluate the impact of control and intervention measures.
  • Modeling the Effects of the Environment on Enteric Pathogen Dynamics (U01GM110712)
    Principal investigator: Joseph Eisenberg, Ph.D., University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

    This research group will model the contribution of environmental factors to disease outbreaks, including the movement of pathogens through water, air and food as well as how those pathogens become transmissible.
  • Models for Synthesizing Molecular, Clinical and Epidemiological Data, and Translation (U01GM110721)
    Principal investigators: Neil Morris Ferguson, Ph.D., Chistophe Fraser, Ph.D., and Steven Riley, Ph.D., Imperial College London, United Kingdom; Simon Cauchemez, Ph.D., Institut Pasteur, Paris, France

    This international research team will develop new machine-learning methods to find patterns of disease transmission; integrate large, complex datasets generated by public health efforts; and derive new ways to improve the validity and predictive ability of infectious disease models.

The renewed 5-year grants are:

  • Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics (U54GM088558)
    Principal investigator: Marc Lipsitch, D.Phil., Harvard School of Public Health, Cambridge, Massachusetts

    This center applies mathematical and statistical modeling methods to public health problems, with particular focus on the impact of vaccine use on the evolution of pathogens.
  • Computational Models of Infectious Disease Threats (U54GM088491)
    Principal investigator: Donald Burke, M.D., University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

    This center focuses on developing innovative software and data resources to build a computational framework for reconstructing and predicting infectious disease dynamics and evaluating interventions.
  • Dynamic Data-Driven Decision Models for Infectious Disease Control (U01GM087719)
    Principal investigators: Alison Galvani, Ph.D., Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut; Lauren Meyers, Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin

    This research team is developing new models of disease spread with the goal of improving infectious disease tracking and optimizing intervention strategies.