Dr. Amy Wesolowski, an assistant professor in the department of epidemiology at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, received a $1.5 million, five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health to study how human travel patterns directly relate to the spread of infectious disease.
Human population dynamics underlie infectious disease transmission. The movement of infected individuals can introduce pathogens into susceptible populations driving disease outbreaks. However, there is no systematic model for human movement dynamics and existing models are based on the understanding of travel in high-income countries. The proposed research uses innovative sources of “big data” from mobile phone call records to quantify mobility patterns of millions of individuals.
This $1.5 million grant will allow Dr. Wesolowski to focus on developing a data-driven framework to model human mobility validated across multiple countries. Human travel fuels the size and spread of disease outbreaks, complicates local and global elimination efforts for vaccine-preventable diseases, and creates dynamic sources and sinks of local transmission where the disease would not otherwise exist. Using mathematical, statistical, and computational approaches Dr. Wesolowski will provide data-driven estimates of the relationships between drivers of disease prevalence, incidence, and mobility to improve forecasting predictions across these infections.
Dr. Wesolowski studies infectious disease dynamics, particularly the role of human mobility on the spatial spread of diseases. Her work has developed methods to utilize novel sources of data on human travel to understand the dynamics of a wide range of infectious diseases including malaria, dengue, measles and rubella.