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Epi Special Seminar

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Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Genome Sciences Building
3:30 to 4:50pm

Computer-Based Modeling in Support of Global Eradication of Infectious Diseases


Philip Eckhoff, PhD
Research Scientist
Intellectual Ventures

Philip Eckhoff, Ph.D., Research Scientist at Intellectual Ventures: Philip is a research scientist at IV working on modeling malaria and polio for global Eradication campaigns (EMOD). He received his PhD from Princeton in Applied and Computational Mathematics where he studied computational neuroscience after completing undergraduate degrees in aerospace engineering and pure mathematics. Philip spent much of his childhood on the north coast of Haiti and has had malaria many times.

Abstract: Campaigns for the Global Eradication of an infectious disease, such as the current campaigns against polio and malaria, have great potential to impact global health.  There are many challenges that must be overcome to succeed in the global eradication of a disease, and modern computing and modeling can help address these challenges.  At Intellectual Ventures, we have developed a new computational framework to assist in the rational planning of global eradication campaigns with specific focus on malaria.  Malaria has a complicated life cycle, with several parasite stages in the human host and several stages in female Anopheles mosquitoes.  A mosquito can be infected with the parasite by feeding on an infectious individual and can then transmit to a new individual on a later bite, after a latent interval.  Since the mosquito is an essential link in the transmission cycle, it is not surprising that mosquito control is a key component for fighting malaria.  We present a model to estimate the effects of different forms of vector control on malaria transmission, focusing on mosquito population dynamics.  Forms of vector control studied include treated bednets, indoor spraying, larvicides, and new technologies under development.  A new model for intrahost malaria infections is also developed with detailed descriptions of parasite intrahost development and human immunology which combine to provide mechanistic explanations of phenomena such as infection duration and adapted response to re-infection.  The integration of these detailed micro-models into a large-scale spatial simulation with individual resolution allows study of many possible combined-intervention malaria eradication campaigns.  Overall probability of campaign success for different combined approaches in the presence of systemic, campaign, and model uncertainty is studied and conclusions for locally-tailored campaigns are discussed.

For more information, please visit depts.washington.edu/epidem/Epi583/ or contact Evan Thacker, ethacker@uw.edu

Updated on May 11, 2010