Confronting Global Outbreaks

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On February 4, 2020 as the COVID-19 virus began to go global, Cole spoke with three scientists from the Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics to hear their perspective on the outbreak. The resulting conversation uncovers aspects of humanity’s complex relationship with viruses that don’t often reach the mainstream media.
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  • Beth McGraw is Professor and Huck Scholar in Entomology, and directs Penn State’s Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics. Her research focuses on dengue virus transmission by mosquitoes. McGraw is currently investigating evidence that mosquito and virus genotypes affect patterns of human disease. She is also interested in the use of a bacterium called Wolbachia for biocontrol.
  • Matt Ferarri is Associate Professor of Biology at Penn State. He uses the mathematical and statistical tools of computational biology to understand patterns of disease incidence, and the effects of heterogeneity across time and space. Ferarri currently collaborates with Doctors Without Borders to track incidence of measles in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Nita Bharti is Lloyd Huck Early Career Professor and Assistant Professor of Biology at Penn State. She investigates the interactions between behavior and biology to inform public health intervention strategies. Using satellite data, Bharti has pioneered new methods to track seasonal movements of the human population, with profound implications for improving vaccination campaigns.

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