The National Institute of General Medical Sciences, part of the National Institutes of Health, has renewed funding from its Models of Infectious Disease Agent Study for a research project at the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute at Virginia Tech, led by Stephen Eubank, professor.
Infectious diseases pose one of the most significant threats to public health worldwide. The Models of Infectious Disease Agent Study (MIDAS) is a multi-university research partnership with a mandate to develop computational models or simulations to assist policy makers, public health workers, and other researchers in making better-informed decisions about natural or intentionally caused emerging infectious diseases, and in planning for national emergencies or acts of bioterrorism.
The project, "Synthetic Information Systems for Better Informing Public Health Policymakers," began in 2004 as a five-year project, received two additional years of funding in 2009 from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and will now be supported with approximately $500,000 per year for an additional five years.
"Dr. Eubank and his colleagues have done an outstanding job of advancing the goals of the MIDAS initiative by developing state of the art epidemiological models," said James Anderson, who helps manage the MIDAS program at the National Institutes of Health. "These models helped policymakers evaluate efforts to mitigate the impact of disease outbreaks, such as the 2009 H1N1 flu pandemic. Dr. Madhav Marathe and Dr. Eubank aim to refine the current models in the next phase to produce software tools that will help public health officials detect and respond to disease outbreaks in distinct geographical regions and demographic populations."
The creation of network-based models of infectious disease can help guide the design of targeted intervention strategies to combat the spread of disease. Powerful computer simulations can provide important information before
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