K-State researcher awarded $580K to study complex disease spread

Published: Jan. 17, 2023 at 9:09 AM CST
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MANHATTAN, Kan. (WIBW) - A researcher at Kansas State University has been awarded $580,000 of $2.5 million to study how diseases spread under complex conditions.

Kansas State University says Caterina Scoglio, professor in the Mike Wiegers Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, has received a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to study long-distance dispersal and disease spread of six model hosts and pathogens.

K-State noted that the collaborative effort will include Lee Cohnstaedt, research entomologist at Foreign Antropod Borne Animal Disease Research, USDA, Manhattan.

The university indicated that Scoglio will be responsible for a $580,000 portion of the $2.5 million project led by Oregon State’s Christopher Mundt. The project is sponsored by the multiagency program Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Diseases.

According to K-State, much of the current theory regarding epidemic spread is anchored in simplified conditions of single outbreak sites, uniform hosts and deterministic epidemic responses. The project will study multiple outbreaks, complex host communities and different sources of stochastic transmission during the spatiotemporal spread of epidemics caused by pathogens with long-distance dispersal.

K-State indicated that the project aims to test four hypotheses related to epidemic spread, including the effects of multiple sources of the epidemic outbreak, the conditions for spillover, the sources and effects of uncertainty in pathogen transmission and the similarities of several long-distance dispersal disease systems.

“Our group will study mathematical and computational models for West Nile virus transmission that can generate a unifying framework across long-distance disposal diseases incorporating diverse hosts, pathogens and environments evolving with time,” Scoglio said. “We will also develop robust predictions of pathogen transmission, requiring an understanding of the effects and sources of uncertainty.”