by Mindy Von Elling
The fall of 2009 brought an epidemic scare with the H1N1 flu virus. This virus severely affected the city of Chanute, Kan. and inspired associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, Caterina Scoglio to conduct a project geared toward using complex models to analyze the spread of the epidemic and how to establish procedures to combat the issue. Scoglio is joined by Pietro Poggi-Corradini, professor of mathematics, and Walter Schumm, professor of family studies and human services.
Scoglio and her colleagues hope to collect empirical data, create a contact network, develop a simulator based on probabilistic models and develop optimized guidelines to control outbreaks in Chanute. This will be done through help from the EPICENTER group, made up of 17 faculty members from five different colleges representing ten different departments. The EPICENTER was established at Kansas State University in September 2007 and uses mathematical models to track the spread of epidemics.
The objectives for the proposal are to develop a report for the city of Chanute with guidelines to mitigate epidemics, publish the results in a relevant journal and to submit a larger proposal to the National Science Foundation (NSF) and other funding agencies.
The project was awarded funding in the fall of 2009 and its principle investigator hopes to ensure rapid detection of future epidemic spread and effective containment.