Have We Been Looking at Global Disease Dynamics All Wrong?

Wednesdays@NICO Seminar, Noon, May 29 2013, Chambers Hall, Lower Level

Prof. Dirk Brockmann, Northwestern University


The ability to pinpoint with certainty the location of a pandemic outbreak and to predict where and how quickly it will spread would give governments and clinicians an important — and potentially life-saving — advantage in responding to the disease, but current prediction models are limited. Using network theory and official transportation data, I've developed a model that can generate with high accuracy the origin of an outbreak and the predicted arrival times of a pandemic in specific locations. The model can generate these findings using only data about the geographical location and number of occurrences of the disease.


Dirk Brockmann is Associate Professor in the Department of Engineering Sciences and Applied Mathematics at Northwestern which he joined in 2008. His research focuses on complex systems, modeling the spatial spread of epidemics, human mobility and complex networks using methods from theoretical and computational physics. He also works on the use of pervasive large scale datasets to understand human behavior and the development of methods to exploit these datasets to improve models for dynamical phenomena mediated by human interactions and mobility. More information can be found here at Professor Brockmann's website.