SPH Awarded $2.9 Million for Computer Modeling of
The Johns Hopkins
Bloomberg School of Public Health was awarded $2.9
million to create computer models for analyzing potential
epidemics and evaluating methods for containing potential
bioterrorism and other disease outbreaks, such as SARS and
West Nile Virus. MIDAS — Models of Infectious Disease
Agent Study — is a $28 million project funded by the
National Institute of General Medical Sciences, which is
part of the National Institutes of Health.
The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
will be one of several research groups that will create
highly visual, user-friendly computational analyses of
disease outbreaks. Using current and historical data, the
researchers will incorporate factors such as disease
incubation periods, transmission rates, weather patterns,
individual susceptibility and social networks to construct
working models of epidemics. The Hopkins team initially
will study smallpox, dengue fever and West Nile virus. The
models it develops then will be applied to study other
"MIDAS will allow us to investigate epidemics in
silico, or within the computer, to determine the best
methods for dealing with an outbreak in the real world.
What we're creating is experimental epidemiology, which
will have a major impact on the way we investigate, prevent
and treat disease outbreaks," said Donald S. Burke, lead
investigator of MIDAS and professor of
epidemiology at the School of Public Health. "The
information learned will be particularly valuable in
planning for potential bioterrorism and new emerging
viruses, like SARS."
Burke will lead the Hopkins MIDAS group, which will
include researchers from the Brookings Institution, the
National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the
University of Maryland and Imperial College in London.
Research Triangle Institute, Los Alamos Lab and Emory
University also received MIDAS grants.
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