AITHM James Cook University


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19 February 2019

AITHM applied mathematician, Dr Adeshina Adekunle, is doing the sums necessary to help Australia prepare and protect itself from emerging diseases.

The infectious diseases modeller is developing mathematical models to estimate how long it would take overseas disease outbreaks, from influenza to Ebola virus, to reach Australia and how these diseases would spread, if and when they arrived.

The post-doctoral research fellow’s current research project is funded by a Tropical Partners grant from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

“Not every biological question can be answered by going into the lab and performing an experiment,” he said. “The good thing about mathematics is we can formulate a mathematical understanding of what a biological process is and then we can vary the parameters to see what will be the outcome.” 

 “What I love most about my work is that I am using mathematics to make informed decisions that will change life,”

Dr Adekunle and his colleagues in the AITHM Infectious Diseases Modelling group are creating a Global Pandemic Map website to monitor external disease threats.

“The website features spatial decision support systems (SDSS), a state-of-the art method for communicating complex data to display risks and do realistic scenario planning at different geospatial (data associated with a particular location) scales,” he said.

“In the area of biosecurity, they enable evidence-based decision making, particularly in relation to preparedness and deployment measures for disease containment. They can be updated in real-time, as the situation evolves, to guide regional health security and public health responses.”

 Dr Adeshina Adekunle


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