PIMS - UVictoria Public Lecture: Caroline Colijn

  • Date: 10/25/2019
Caroline Colijn, SFU

University of Victoria


Why do we need new mathematics in infectious disease?


New kinds of data are giving rise to exciting new opportunities in public health. The recent revolution in DNA sequencing means that for the first time, we can read the sequences of viruses and bacteria that cause human disease. This allows us to track their evolution through time, and even to track how they are spreading through communities and environments. However, the best ways to control infectious disease do not leap off the pages of these data. Instead, we need to build ways to model and understand these rich sources of data, and we need to connect the information we gain to our efforts in public health. These tasks require new mathematics. In my group, we have developed a way to connect the DNA sequences from bacterial infections to 'outbreak stories' -- who infected whom and when. We combine genomic data, locations and clinical histories, allowing us to estimate how the infection spreads in a community. I will describe how the method works and some of its applications for public health, and I will give a broader picture of some of the coming challenges that healthcare brings to the mathematical sciences.

Other Information: 

Location: Bob Wright Centre A104

Tea reception 6-6:30pm

Public talk 6:30-9pm