Predicting Disease Dynamics Using Mathematical Modeling

About the Project:

How do infectious diseases spread from person to person and what can scientists do to minimize it? Despite the advanced state of modern medicine, outbreaks of new infectious diseases (such as COVID-19) and resurgence of declining diseases (such as measles and polio) occur and must be investigated. Mathematical modeling is a useful tool for studying outbreaks of diseases and has played a role in reducing the impact of Ebola, HIV, HPV, influenza, and many more diseases. It allows us to address questions and test hypotheses that may be unfeasible or unethical to study in reality. Student researchers will work with Prof. Lindsey Fox to understand the natural history of a disease of students’ interest. They will then construct and simulate a model that describes the dynamics of the disease, compare their model output to data, and use their model to investigate the impact of various control measures on an outbreak. Students will learn to use the computing and statistical software R to simulate their model. Confidence in Calculus I (AP Calculus AB) is recommended.

The First-Year Research Associate Program at Eckerd College honors academically outstanding students with awards of up to $1,000. The program also provides the opportunity, during the freshman year, for the award winners to work closely with a sponsor (faculty or administrative personnel) on a project of mutual interest. Associates might assist with research for faculty publication or new courses, conduct scientific experiments, work with creative artists, or develop projects related to any phase of the academic, cultural, and social life of the college. Scholars are selected on the basis of achievement in high school and on the creativity and depth of responses to items on this application.​

Online submission due no later than February 1, 2023.

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