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Infectious disease dynamics IDD

IDD Research focuses on synthesizing the ecological and evolutionary dynamics of hosts and parasites and exploring optimal control strategies.  We pursue this integration across scales from parasite and immune molecules to global pandemic spread. Students, post docs and faculty deploy epidemiological and social science theory, cutting edge data analysis, laboratory science and field work to explore an extremely wide range of systems, spanning viruses, bacteria, protozoa and helminths infecting human, animal and plant populations and communities.  Zoonotic jumps from animal to human populations are a special focus, as are the causes and consequences of heterogeneity among hosts.  We address a seamless mix of basic questions in pathogen dynamics with applied issues in vaccine and drug strategies and conservation biology.  EEB faculty advise the World Health Organization,the Gates Foundation and others on disease control issues.  We maintain active collaborations from Newark, NJ and NIH, to St. Kilda, the Serengeti and Vietnam.

Andy Dobson is interested in diseases of wildlife and the ecological role of parasites in natural systems.  The central questions of interest to him are: What happens when parasites have multiple host species, or multiple parasite species infect the same host population?  He examines these questions using a mixture of mathematical models and data collected from field systems that extend from the pathogens of cattle, dogs and carnivores in the Serengeti Ecosystem in Tanzania, all the parasites in the food webs of Californian salt marshes, and the parasites of high arctic species such as caribou and musk ox.  He's also happy to watch virulence evolve in the pathogens of the eyes of house finches, through the windows of his office in Princeton.

Andrea Graham investigates the evolutionary ecology of immune systems,including the mechanisms by which natural selection maintains heterogeneity in the susceptibility of hosts to infection and immunopathology.  The Graham Group collaborates closely with biomedical immunologists, theoretical ecologists, veterinarians and quantitative geneticists to quantify and explain immune dynamics in mice, sheep, flour beetles and more.

Bryan Grenfell focuses on the epidemic dynamics and control by vaccination of acute immunizing infectious diseases and the phylodynamic feedback between epidemiological and evolutionary processes which shapes the epidemic clockwork.  The Grenfell Group is also increasingly interested in economic epidemiology and the dynamics of more chronic infections, such as HIV, Tb and helminths.  A major new collaboration is with the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit in Vietnam, focusing on HFMD, typhoid and a growing list of other infections.

Simon Levin explores the ecological and evolutionary dynamics of seasonal influenza and the impact of social norms on infectious disease dynamics, notably in the context of antibiotic resistance. Recent work also examines human behavioral responses to disease, and feedbacks to disease dynamics.

Jessica Metcalf is interested in the demographic drivers of infectious disease, from changing human fertility and mobility at a global scale, through to the reproduction and depletion of target cells and parasites within hosts. The Metcalf Group works on public health questions relating to evaluation and design of control programmes across a range of contexts with a particular focus on measles and rubella; through to questions of the evolution of immunity; using a diverse array of data sources at a range of scales.