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Climate and Health

Working Group leader: Erich Seamon

Group members: Jonathan Barnes, Sarah Bassing, Nurbanu Bursa, Matt Falcy, Jean-Marc Gauthier, Xiao Hu, Jennifer Johnson-Leung, Ginny Lane, Hussain Qazaq, Dilshani Sarathchandra, Terence Soule, Klas Udekwu, James Van Leuven, Meng Zhao, Helen Brown

Originated: August 2023

Description: This working group will explore research efforts that connect climate change with health outcomes, with a focus on hypotheses that span across biological, computational, and social science areas.

Control of Antimicrobial Resistance Emergence (CARE)

Working Group leader: Esteban Hernandez-Vargas, Klas Udekwu

Group members: Alejandro Anderson, Matt Kinahan, Ishmael Staples

Originated: July 2023

Description: This working group will develop the mathematical foundations to predict antibiotic-resistant and -susceptible bacteria population dynamics. Computational algorithms will indicate the best chronological order and respective duration of each antibiotic.

IMCI Seminar Series – Spring 2023

IMCI Seminar Series – Spring 2023

Tuesday | February 14th | 12:30 p.m.
Aurora Room (ISUB) or join us on Zoom Passcode 028591

Jennifer Maynard 
ZD Bonner Professor of Chemical Engineering
University of Texas at Austin

Join us at 12:00 p.m. for coffee and treats before the presentation.

“Outsmarting pathogens with protein engineering: Lessons from pertussis, cytomegalovirus and coronavirus”

There is growing interest in development of antibodies to provide instant immunity that protects susceptible individuals against infectious diseases, especially pathogens for which no vaccine is yet available. However, many of these pathogens, especially those that manifest as highly transmissible or latent infections, express complex arrays of virulence factors and are adept at avoiding the immune system. Some organisms have developed strategies to selectively destroy anti-pathogen antibodies, while others create decoys that trick the host immune system into generating antibodies that are at best non-protective and, at worst, enhance pathogenesis. Design of pathogen-resistant antibodies can present novel therapies and in turn guide development of protective vaccines for these challenging pathogens. This talk will provide an overview of our progress engineering antibodies and antigens resistant to specific immune defense mechanisms used by pathogens including B. pertussis, human cytomegalovirus, and SARS-CoV-2.

Tuesday | March 7th | 12:30 p.m.
Aurora Room (ISUB) or join us on Zoom Passcode 028591

Cailin O’Connor 
Professor – Logic and Philosophy of Science
Director – Philosophy, Political Science, and Economics MA Program
University of California, Irvine

Join us at 12:00 p.m. for coffee and treats before the presentation.

“Interdisciplinarity Can Aid the Spread of Better Methods”

Why do bad methods persist in some academic disciplines, even when they have been clearly rejected in others? What factors allow good methodological advances to spread across disciplines? In this work, we investigate some key features determining the success and failure of methodological spread between the sciences. We introduce a model that considers factors like methodological competence and reviewer bias towards one’s own methods. We show how self-preferential biases can protect poor methodology within scientific communities, and lack of reviewer competence can contribute to failures to adopt better methods. We further argue, however, that input from outside disciplines, especially in the form of peer review and other credit assignment mechanisms, can help break down barriers to methodological improvement.

Standards of Evidence Working Group

Working Group Leader: Bert Baumgaertner

Group Members: Florian Justwan, Kendal Mitton, Chenangnon Tovissode

Originated: January 2023


This working group uses both modeling and empirical investigations to understand the role that evidentiary standards play when individuals evaluate claims. We are interested in the systematic ways standards of evidence differ across various types of claims (e.g. political vs scientific) and the determinants of these systematic differences, including base rates (priors) vs likelihoods, in-group vs outgroup, confirmation vs disconfirmation, prospective vs retrospective, and general public vs political elites.

Mathematical Immunology

Working Group Leader: Tanya Miura. Esteban Vargas, Jean-Marc Gauthier

Group members: Pallavia Deol, Eugenia Yeboah, Rodolfo Blanco Rodriguez, Benjamin Whipple

Originated: November 8, 2022


The Mathematical Immunology Working Group will develop mathematical models to explain the roles of immune responses during respiratory viral infections.