Bush, associate professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, will develop computational models to analyze the evolutionary changes that occurred during past transfers of flu from birds to humans. These analyses will provide the basis for mathematical models that evaluate the risk of future pandemic strains. The team includes Steven Frank, UCI professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, and Nancy Cox, chief of the Influenza Branch of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.
Bush's team is one of four new scientific groups joining the Models of Infectious Disease Agent Study, an ongoing effort by the National Institutes of Health to better understand the spread of contagious diseases and their impact on public health.
"This grant is important for increasing collaboration between the experts in computer modeling from the NIH/MIDAS program and the scientists at the Influenza Branch of the CDC," Bush said. "This computer modeling should help us improve our understanding of the data and better guide future policy in the area of infectious disease outbreaks."
Overall, the new research groups will receive a total of approximately $7.8 million over the next five years and will collaborate with four existing MIDAS teams. The results could aid health officials and policymakers in developing preparedness plans for outbreaks. In addition to their individual research projects, the new MIDAS teams will contribute to the network's pandemic influenza modeling project. This project involves simulating outbreaks of a deadly flu strain in different regions of the world and then evaluating the effects of various interventio
Contact: Farnaz Khadem
University of California - Irvine