May 13, 2015
“Understanding the Interplay between Population-level Vaccinating Behavior and Disease Dynamics during Childhood Vaccine Scares”
Department of Applied Mathematics
The interplay between disease dynamics and vaccinating behaviour has been receiving increasing attention from mathematical modellers, due to recent vaccine scares and other behavioural phenomena. Mathematicians have developed various coupled “disease-behaviour” models to capture this interplay. Salient challenges to the field include how to reconcile model predictions to empirical observations, and how to incorporate greater realism, both in epidemiology and in terms of how human behaviour is represented. I will give a broad overview of my lab’s research from the past 10 years devoted to addressing these challenges, using tools such as dynamical systems, network simulations, and model selection approaches. Vaccine scares could become more common as eradication goals are approached for more vaccine-preventable diseases. The end goal of my research is to develop disease-behaviour models that could help us predict how vaccine scares might unfold and thereby assist mitigation efforts. This talk will be accessible to a general audience.
Chris Bauch is a mathematical biologist in the Department of Applied Mathematics at the University of Waterloo. He studies epidemiological and ecological systems with a particular emphasis on evaluating interventions, and coupling models of human behaviour with models of disease dynamics or ecological dynamics. Approaches include differential equations, stochastic simulations, and network models. He has published over 80 papers in journals including Science, PNAS, Proceedings of the Royal Society B, PLoS Computational Biology, Lancet Infectious Diseases, and others. His research has been funded by NSERC, CIHR, GlaxoSmithKline, the US Food and Drug Administration, The Ministry of Health of Ontario, and the World Health Organization. Some of this work has reached a wide audience through the media, and has been written up in The New York Times, Scientific American, USA Today, BBC News and other media.