Newswise — Researchers at the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute at Virginia Tech are using high-performance computer simulations to show how diseases like flu spread through large populations. They want to provide policymakers, decision-makers, and public health experts with a way to test health interventions that would help to put the brakes on the spread of a deadly influenza outbreak.
Researchers at the Network Dynamics and Simulation Science Laboratory (NDSSL) at the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute (VBI) are using computer simulations of mathematical models to investigate how infectious diseases like influenza emerge and spread through large populations of people. These simulations allow experts to test the impact of different public health interventions on such a spread of infectious agents.
Stephen Eubank, deputy director of the NDSSL, and colleagues at VBI have been working as part of the National Institutes for Health's MIDAS (Models of Infectious Disease Agent Study) group, a network that comprises principal investigators, scientific collaborators, software engineers, and data and computer experts, as well as students from research and informatics groups across the globe. The goal of MIDAS is to bring together modelers, policymakers, and the public health community to set priorities and design studies of infectious disease outbreaks. This involves making sure that MIDAS computer software is translated into useful tools for the public health community. It also encompasses sharing results and resources with the MIDAS network, policymakers, public health officials, and the scientific community. Researchers in MIDAS use a national consortium of supercomputers to run their computer programs.
Eubank is available to talk to media.
Learn more about his research at https://www.vbi.vt.edu/faculty/personal_pages/stephen_eubank