Disease transmission and control in complex, structured populations

Lead Research Organisation: University of Warwick
Department Name: Mathematics

Abstract

Infectious disease is the main thing that kills people. Some of the greatest improvements to human health have involved improvements in our understanding and control of germs - from John Snow's pioneering work on cholera in the 19th century to the eradication of smallpox in the 20th century. The 21st century sees a new set of challenges in the understanding and control of infections - while the eradication of polio progresses, we see new influenza strains causing or threatening pandemics, the continued progression of HIV and a massive health burden of often simply but expensively preventable diseases in the developing world.Epidemiology - the science of looking for significant patterns in cases of disease - has always been at the heart of controlling infectious diseases, and mathematics has always been central epidemiology.This project applies advanced mathematics to the science of epidemiology, making use of the large datasets and modern computational resources that are available. New insights about the structure of complex systems offer the promise of making massive advances in this field, through enhanced understanding of transmission routes of infection, risk factors and changes in the disease over time. These insights can in turn be combined with mathematical methods to design optimised interventions against infection so that diseases can be controlled in the most effective way.

Planned Impact

The ultimate aim for impact from my research is to reduce the burden of infectious disease on the human population - quantitative epidemiology has always been at the centre of efforts to control pathogens.Infectious disease remains the main cause of human mortality. This means that major advances in our understanding of them can revolutionise public health, while even minor improvements in science can have highly significant effects on the general health and well-being of the general population.The intermediate beneficiaries of my work are the Health Protection Agency (HPA), which is the body responsible for public health - including infection control - in England, the medical research institute KEMRI in Kenya, and also the Department of Health and associated scientific advisory bodies. Through working with these bodies as detailed in the Pathways to Impact document I will ensure that any policy-relevant conclusions from my work are swiftly disseminated.

Publications

10 25 50

Related Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Award Value
EP/J002437/1 01/10/2011 31/12/2014 £632,534
EP/J002437/2 Transfer EP/J002437/1 01/04/2015 31/03/2017 £246,904
 
Description See EP/J002437/2 (the same grant, there are only different numbers because of a change of institution)
Exploitation Route See EP/J002437/2 (the same grant, there are only different numbers because of a change of institution)
Sectors Healthcare,Government, Democracy and Justice

URL http://personalpages.manchester.ac.uk/staff/thomas.house
 
Description See EP/J002437/2 (the same grant, there are only different numbers because of a change of institution)
First Year Of Impact 2010
Sector Healthcare,Government, Democracy and Justice
Impact Types Cultural,Societal,Policy & public services

 
Title EpiStruct 
Description Mathematical routines for epidemic modelling and inference in structured populations. 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2014 
Open Source License? Yes  
Impact Use in various modelling studies / applications. 
URL http://epistruct.sourceforge.net/
 
Title elife-ebola-code 
Description Software for working with subcritical disease outbreaks including Ebola. 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2014 
Open Source License? Yes  
Impact DOI 10.7554/eLife.03908 
URL https://github.com/thomasallanhouse/elife-ebola-code
 
Company Name Spectra Analytics 
Description Spectra Analytics is a boutique data analysis and research consultancy. 
Year Established 2014 
Impact Formed by my PhD student Dan Sprague.
Website http://www.spectraanalytics.com/