|Title||An epidemic of a thousand people starts with a single infection|
|Presenter||Roslyn Hickson (IBM Research Australia)|
Infectious diseases continue to be a significant global issue, with 21.2\% of global deaths in 2015 due to communicable diseases and maternal, prenatal and nutrition conditions. Due to a combination of factors, including distribution of goods, urbanisation, and modern travel, the risk of `spillover events' (crossing from another species to humans) is higher, and emerging infectious diseases spread further and faster. Developed nations tend to be focussed on preventing infectious diseases from (re-)entering, whilst developing nations tend to be focussed on stopping outbreaks as early as possible to reduce the total number of overall cases. The dynamics of infectious diseases are nonlinear and complicated, and data collection is difficult and expensive. Furthermore, randomised control trials are not an option, so any data collected must be done so opportunistically. Mathematical modelling is a vital tool in the war on germs. There are established models that are reasonable approximations of the transmission dynamics, which make good use of the limited data available. My research the past $\approx$7 years has been a combination of applying established techniques to specific infectious diseases to determine likely impacts of intervention strategies, and of improving the models and methods of transmission dynamics. In this presentation, I will discuss my research journey in infectious disease modelling, and where it has led my career. I will give specific examples of my work on tuberculosis in the Torres Strait region, of working on the risk of transmission of Ebola in the Asia Pacific region, and on exploring new intervention impacts on dengue fever cases in Taiwan.
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