Meet the Newest Members of the PHDL Team
From across the pond, David Sinclair, PhD, has joined the Public Health Dynamics Laboratory (PHDL) at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health as a postdoctoral associate/programmer. David received a Master of Physics from Durham University, UK, and recently completed a PhD in Physics (Astrophysics) at the University of Oxford. His research there focused on simulating and analyzing the performance of a complex radio telescope using algorithm design and large-volume data analysis. He has an extensive computational background, including creating signal processing algorithms for hardware.
Tejaswi Anantaraju, MS, MBA, joins the Project Tycho team at the Public Health Dynamics Laboratory at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. Tejaswi received a MS in Information Technologies from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and an MBA from Osmania University in India. He has extensive experience designing and implementing Java based e-Business/e-Commerce applications, including a web service for the Bank of New York Mellon stakeholders, along with a strong business analytics background.
Opioid Epidemic Forecasting
Since 2000, almost half a million Americans have died from drug overdoses. This modern plague—largely driven by opioid addiction—degrades health, saps productivity, spawns crime, and devastates families, all at enormous societal cost. How did we get here, and what do we do now? In the November 4 issue of Science, Dr. Donald Burke, Dean, Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh, discusses how a coordinated national opioid epidemic modeling program may help to solve this complex problem.
Pitt MIDAS Investigator publishes two papers in Science
Congratulations to Derek Cummings, Pitt MIDAS Center for Excellence investigator from the University of Florida, along with colleagues from Johns Hopkins University, Institut Pasteur, Imperial College, and Princeton University, on the publication of two major papers in Science. Dr. Cummings co-authored an important review, "Assessing the global threat from Zika virus" (Science 12 August 2016), which addresses important issues such as the transmission, natural history and phylogenetics of the Zika virus and its potential range. The second paper, "Benefits and risks of the Sanofi-Pasteur dengue vaccine: Modeling optimal deployment" addresses the effects of a recently developed vaccine for dengue which, like Zika, is caused by a flavivirus that is transmitted by a mosquito vector. Cummings and his colleagues from Imperial College, Johns Hopkins and the University of Florida's Emerging Pathogens Institute, present the first independent predictions on the potential impact of dengue vaccination programs (Science 2 Sep 2016). They argue that the vaccine will be most effective in areas where most people have already been exposed to dengue at the time of vaccination. If individuals not previously exposed to the virus are vaccinated, they are at an increased risk of severe disease when they are subsequently exposed to dengue. Read both articles: Zika and Dengue.
Michelle Dunn from NIH BD2K Visits University of Pittsburgh
Data science is increasingly necessary for biomedical science and requires established leadership and increased funds for research and training. This was the message of the first lecture of the 2016-2017 PHDL Seminar Series by guest speaker, Dr. Michelle Dunn, Senior Advisor of Data Science Training, Diversity and Outreach, Office of the Associate Director for Data Science (ADDS) at the National Institutes of Health.
On September 12th, over 130 people attended Dr. Dunn's lecture at the University Club in Pittsburgh, sponsored by the Public Health Dynamics Laboratory (PHDL), University of Pittsburgh, Graduate School of Public Health. She described a major trans-NIH program, the Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) Initiative, led by the NIH ADDS Office, as well as the additional efforts toward enabling the efficient management of biomedical Big Data. Among the aims of the BD2K Initiative are to increase training and funding for research grants and support of a data ecosystem that accelerates discovery as part of a digital enterprise. Dr. Wilbert van Panhuis, lead researcher of Project Tycho and a MIDAS Pitt Center of Excellence investigator, received a BD2K training grant in 2015 which will build on Project Tycho as a global scale population health information system, improving the use of information to counter epidemic threats around the world.
For more information on Dr. Dunn's lecture and the information exchange, visit the Public Health Dynamics Laboratory website.