This research aims to improve public health policy and practice by incorporating social behavior into mathematical models of infectious disease spread and by providing a better understanding of how proposed health-related policies will work when put into practice.

Project Summary

The objective of this project is to incorporate social behavior into mathematical models of infectious disease transmission dynamics, with a focus on influenza like illness. The inferences of this project will improve our understanding of the impact of different control and prevention strategies for infectious disease epidemics in general and Influenza epidemics in particular. Our hypothesis is that individual behavior, disease dynamics, and interventions coevolve across multiple scales to create statistically and epidemiologically significant differences in the efficacy and social equity of public health policies such as infectious disease control strategies.

This project extends well studied computational simulations to include people's behaviors relevant to infectious disease epidemics and will be used to determine the consequences of feedback between population-level effects and individual-level behavior. In particular, we will determine the sensitivity of outcomes to particular behaviors. A survey designed to focus on those particular behaviors will be used to estimate variability across communities.

Team Members

  • Achla Marathe (Contact PI), Professor, Biocomplexity Institute of Virginia Tech and Agricultural and Applied Economics
  • Kaja Abbas (PI), Assistant Professor in Disease Modelling, London School of Hygieine and Tropical Medicine
  • Samarth Swarup, Research Assistant Professor, University of Virignia
  • Jiangzhuo Chen, Research Associate Professor, University of Virginia
  • Stephen Eubank, Professor, Publich Health Sciences, University fo Virginia
  • Bryan Lewis, Research Associate Professor, University of Virginia
  • Kevin Boyle, Professor, Agricultural and Applied Economics, Virginia Tech
  • Pamela Murray-Tuite, Associate Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Clemson Univesity


  • James Schlitt, PhD in Genetics, Bioinformatics & Computational Biology
  • Meghendra Singh, MCS, Computer Science and Applications
  • Lijing Wang, PhD, Computer Science


  • Wang, L., Chen, J., & Marathe, A. (2018). A. Framework for Learning Health Disparities Among Cohorts in An Influenza Epidemic. World Wide Web .

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