The Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences

Impact of Small-Scale Details on SIR Epidemics

Joel Miller (Harvard University)

When: Thursday, February 25, 2010 - 2:00pm - 3:00 pm
Where: 114 McAllister Building
Name: Kelli Wilkinson
Phone: 814-865-7527

Dr. Miller is a Research Fellow in the Department of Epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, MA. He is being hosted by Dr. Gary Mullen, Math Department Head for the the Eberly College of Science at Penn State University.


The large-scale dynamics of infectious disease spread can be significantly affected by the details of random discrete infection events between individuals.  Examples include heterogeneities in the number of contacts an individual has; heterogeneities in the infectiousness and susceptibility of an individual; and the impact of small-scale social structures such as families and work groups.   I will give an overview of network models of disease spread and specifically will describe how each of the above effects modifies the probability, size, early growth, and timing of an epidemic and how this can help in intervention design.  The approaches used borrow techniques from branching processes, perturbation analysis, and network theory.