Seminar: Stochastic Models for the Optimal Control of Global Influenza

Published: April 18th, 2012

Gainesville:  Dr. Ira Longini, Professor of Biostatistics in the College of Public Health and Health Professions and the College of Medicine will deliver a seminar entitled, “Stochastic Models for the Optimal Control of Global Influenza” on Thursday, April 19 from 3:00 to 3:50 p.m. in room 279, Weil Hall.

This talk will describe the evolution of stochastic epidemic models for the small scale, e.g., households, to the large scale on the entire global network.  The talk will then expand this work to the optimal control of global influenza using the rapid deployment of vaccines.  Specifically, with new cases of avian and swine influenza arising frequently, the threat of a new influenza pandemic remains a challenge for public health.   Because there is an important time lag between the emergence of new pandemic strain and the development and distribution of a vaccine, shortage of vaccine is very likely at the beginning of a pandemic.  The talk will describe mathematical models on a network for characterizing the spread and control of the pandemic process.   The talk will also describe the coupling of the mathematical model with a genetic algorithm to optimally and dynamically distribute vaccine in a network of cities and show that it is possible to significantly mitigate a global epidemic with limited quantities of vaccine, provided that vaccination occurs within the first weeks of transmission.

Dr Longini received his Ph.D. in Biometry and Biomathematics at the University of Minnesota in 1977. He began his career with the International Center for Medical Research and Training and the Universidad del Valle in Cali, Colombia, where he worked on tropical infectious disease problems and taught courses in biomathematics. Following that, he was a professor biostatistics at the University of Michigan, Emory University and the University of Washington. He currently is a professor of biostatistics at the University of Florida and Co-director of the Center for Statistical and Quantitative Infectious Diseases (CSQUID), the Emerging Pathogens Institute, at the University of Florida. His research interests are in the area of stochastic processes applied to epidemiological problems. He has specialized in the mathematical and statistical theory of epidemics–a process that involves constructing and analyzing mathematical models of disease transmission, disease progression and the analysis of infectious disease data based on these models. He works extensively in the design and analysis of vaccine and infectious disease prevention trials and observational studies. Dr. Longini has worked on the analysis of epidemics of influenza, HIV, tuberculosis, cholera, dengue fever, malaria, rhinovirus, rotavirus, measles and other infectious agents. Dr. Longini is also working with the Department of Health and Human Services, the World Health Organization, the CDC and other public health organizations on mathematical and statistical models for the control of a possible bioterrorist attack with an infectious agent such as smallpox, and other natural infectious disease threats such as pandemic influenza or another SARS-like infectious agent. Dr. Longini is author or coauthor of over 145 scientific papers and he has won a number of awards for excellence in research, including the Howard M. Temin Award in Epidemiology for “Scientific Excellence in the Fight against HIV/AIDS,” two CDC Statistical Science Awards for both “Best Theoretical and Applied Papers,” and the CDC James H. Nakano Citation “for an outstanding scientific publications.” He is a Fellow of the American Statistical Association.

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