Abstract: Host immunity and demographics (the recruitment of susceptibles via birthrate) have been demonstrated to be a key determinant of the periodicity of measles, pertussis and dengue epidemics. However, not all epidemic cycles are from pathogens inducing sterilizing immunity or are driven by demographics. Many sexually transmitted infections are driven by sexual behaviour. We present a mathematical model of disease transmission where individuals can disconnect and reconnect depending on the infectious status of their contacts. We fit the model to historic syphilis (Treponema pallidum) and gonorrhea (Neisseria gonorrhoeae) incidence in the USA and explore potential intervention strategies against syphilis. We find that cycles in syphilis incidence can be driven solely by changing sexual behaviour in structured populations. Our model also explains the lack of similar cycles in gonorrhea incidence even if the two infections share the same propagation pathways. Our model similarly illustrates how sudden epidemic outbreaks can occur on time scales smaller than the characteristic demographic time scale of the population and that weaker infections can lead to more violent outbreaks. Behaviour also appears to be critical for control strategies as we found a bigger sensitivity to behavioural interventions than antibiotic treatment. Thus, behavioural interventions may play a larger role than previously thought, especially in the face of antibiotic resistance and low intervention efficacies.
[edit database entry]
Bongard's work focuses on understanding the general nature of cognition, regardless of whether it is found in humans, animals or robots. This unique approach focuses on the role that morphology and evolution plays in cognition. Addressing these questions has taken him into the fields of biology, psychology, engineering and computer science.
Danforth is an applied mathematician interested in modeling a variety of physical, biological, and social phenomenon. He has applied principles of chaos theory to improve weather forecasts as a member of the Mathematics and Climate Research Network, and developed a real-time remote sensor of global happiness using messages from Twitter: the Hedonometer. Danforth co-runs the Computational Story Lab with Peter Dodds, and helps run UVM's reading group on complexity.
Laurent studies the interaction of structure and dynamics. His research involves network theory, statistical physics and nonlinear dynamics along with their applications in epidemiology, ecology, biology, and sociology. Recent projects include comparing complex networks of different nature, the coevolution of human behavior and infectious diseases, understanding the role of forest shape in determining stability of tropical forests, as well as the impact of echo chambers in political discussions.
Hines' work broadly focuses on finding ways to make electric energy more reliable, more affordable, with less environmental impact. Particular topics of interest include understanding the mechanisms by which small problems in the power grid become large blackouts, identifying and mitigating the stresses caused by large amounts of electric vehicle charging, and quantifying the impact of high penetrations of wind/solar on electricity systems.
Bagrow's interests include: Complex Networks (community detection, social modeling and human dynamics, statistical phenomena, graph similarity and isomorphism), Statistical Physics (non-equilibrium methods, phase transitions, percolation, interacting particle systems, spin glasses), and Optimization(glassy techniques such as simulated/quantum annealing, (non-gradient) minimization of noisy objective functions).