Predicting and Preventing Epidemic to Pandemic Transitions

Focused Research Program

Our Focus

The goal of the Predicting and Preventing Epidemic to Pandemic Transitions FRP, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), is to develop a comprehensive strategy and the required science base for predicting and preventing future pandemics. This Phase I project will engage a large interdisciplinary team and a network of collaborators from EcoHealth Alliance to develop models that can identify location hot spots for pathogens that could cause an outbreak, detect disease anomalies in healthcare settings, predict patient outcomes, characterize pathogen spread, and determine best methods for response.

Focused Research Program led by

  • Yannis Paschalidis: Director, Hariri Institute; Distinguished Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Systems Engineering, and Biomedical Engineering; Founding Professor, Computing and Data Sciences
  • Nahid Bhadelia: Founding Director, Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases Policy and Research (CEID); Associate Director, National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories (NEIDL); Associate Professor, Infectious Diseases
  • Eric Kolaczyk: Professor,  Mathematics & Statistics; Founding Professor, Computing and Data Sciences
  • Diane Joseph-McCarthy: Executive Director, Bioengineering Technology & Entrepreneurship Center (BTEC); Professor, Biomedical Engineering
  • Jon Epstein, Vice President for Science & Outreach, EcoHealth Alliance

Research Thrusts

1. Predictive Models of Location and Likely Pathogens

This thrust focuses on identifying high-risk viruses and geographic locations at the highest risk of initial spillover and localized spread.


2. Detection of Local Disease Clusters

This thrust identifies non-typical cases based on diverse sources of data, ranging from healthcare centers, local case reports, social media, web search queries, cell phone data, and death reports.


3. Pathogen Characterization and Pandemic Prediction

This thrust aims to develop the capability to identify and characterize pathogens that cause local disease clusters and predict whether a local cluster could lead to a pandemic.


4. Mitigation and Response Strategies

This thrust focuses on therapeutics and vaccines, the capacity of global research networks to engage in rapid response, and social mitigation strategies.

Upcoming Events:

Spring 2023 Distinguished Speaker Series: Data Driven Approaches to Prevent the Next Pandemic

COVID-19 demonstrated the powerful impact pandemics have on society and the continued need for vigilance and innovation in preparing for and responding to future pandemics. Vast data resources exist that could be helpful for prediction, response, and monitoring of future pandemics. The “Data-Driven Approaches to Prevent the Next Pandemic” series will focus on data driven approaches to address these important questions. Co-sponsored by the Boston University School of Public Health Population Health Data Science Program & the Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases Policy & Research (CEID)

Wednesday April 12, 2023
Mark Lurie
Associate Professor of Epidemiology and Director of the International Health Institute

Brown University
Using Mobility and Social Mixing Data to Predict and Prevent Future Pandemics
Hybrid Event Location: 8 Saint Mary’s Street, Room 906, or Zoom
Link to view recording here.

Tuesday, May 2, 2023
John Drake
Regents’ Professor, Distinguished Research Professor, and Director of the Center for the Ecology of Infectious Diseases
University of Georgia

Modeling and Analytics for Infectious Disease Intelligence
Hybrid Event Location: 665 Commonwealth Ave, Room 1750, or Zoom
For talk details and zoom registration, click here.

Friday, May 5, 2023
Lauren Meyers
Cooley Centennial Professor and Director of the Center for Pandemic Decision Support
University of Texas at Austin
Virtual Event Location: Zoom.
For talk details and zoom registration, click here.