Postdoctoral positions open in malaria microsimulation

Malaria

The Boni Lab in the Department of Biology at The Pennsylvania State University is recruiting highly-motivated postdoctoral scholars to work on several key public health questions using large-scale individual-based malaria simulations.   Our lab’s research interests can be seen here and here.   Positions can begin anytime in 2017. Our lab is based at the Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics …

Nguyen Ha Thao Vy passes her Masters defense

Influenza

Congratulations to Vy for passing her Masters thesis defense today!   Vy’s thesis focused on the molecular epidemiology and seroepidemiology of influenza in Ho Chi Minh City, and it represented more than three years of serological and molecular lab work that Vy led, together with Tran Thi Nhu Thao and Huynh Thi Phuong of OUCRU.   Vy’s main results were …

Tran Thi Thanh Phuong passes her Oxford DPhil viva

Economic Epidemiology, Malaria

Congratulations to Phuong on passing her DPhil viva on December 14! Phuong started working at OUCRU as a health economist in 2012, enrolled in Oxford’s DPhil program, and has been working on two major health economics questions for her DPhil studies.   Phuong looked at the costs and benefits of delayed versus immediate antiretroviral therapy of HIV+ tuberculosis-meningitis patients in …

Stacy Todd passes her PhD viva

Influenza

Congratulations to Stacy Todd on passing her PhD viva today! At OUCRU Vietnam for 2.5 years, Stacy ran a large observational study on influenza antibody profiles in flu-positive and flu-negative patients.   Stacy examined the relationships between these profiles and influenza susceptibility, computed antibody waning rates for patients recently infected with influenza, and determined how these waning rates influenced estimates …

Real-time ILI reporting project to start up in Da Nang

Influenza

On Saturday May 28, the OUCRU modeling team visited Da Nang to meet with a group of doctors who are interested in setting up a real-time ILI reporting study similar to the study that has been running in Ho Chi Minh City since 2009.   Hannah Clapham and Nguyen Thi Le Thanh visited a number of clinics in Da Nang …

Interrupted feeding analysis presented at WHO meeting

Malaria, Recombination

On December 10-11, the WHO Technical Expert Group (TEG) on Drug Efficacy and Response met in Geneva to make recommendations on the appropriate response to the spread of artemisinin resistance, and to look at the effects of future malaria control strategies such as seasonal malaria chemoprophylaxis, triple combination therapies, and the deployment of multiple first-line therapies (MFT). The results of …

Multiple first-line artemisinin combination therapies

Malaria

One of the earliest mathematical modeling questions our group began working concerned how we should best deploy antimalarial therapies to delay the onset of drug resistance for as long as possible.   This is a “resistance management” problem, and you can find some of the earliest publications on this topic here and here.   This work was led by Tran …

OUCRU’s first two mathematical modeling PhDs

Influenza, Malaria

Congratulations to Dao Nguyen Vinh (left) and Tran Dang Nguyen (right) who both passed their PhD vivas this month. Vinh and Nguyen were the first two students in OUCRU’s mathematical modeling group, and they helped build the group up to its current state today, with seven people working on influenza and four on malaria. Vinh’s thesis was titled Influenza in …

Collaboration with Erasmus Medical Center

Influenza

This week, we visited the Erasmus Medical Center to work with our longtime collaborators, Marion Koopmans’ research group, on a range of seroepidemiological studies that we are running together.   Our collaboration started in 2010 when we noticed that our large general-population serum collections in Vietnam and the high-throughput protein microarray technology developed by Marion’s group were a good match …

Twenty years of artemisinin use in Vietnam

Malaria

In the late 1980s, Vietnam experienced a large malaria resurgence resulting from the spread of chloroquine resistance and a strained public health system suffering from slow economic growth during the post-war rebuilding effort.   In 1991 and 1992 there were more than a million clinical malaria cases per year in Vietnam, with 4503 deaths in 1991 and 2669 deaths in …

WHO influenza phylogenetics workshop

Influenza

In September 2014, OUCRU organized and taught the “Workshop on Phylogenetic Analysis for Evolution of Influenza Viruses” for the WHO Vietnam Country Office and Vietnam’s National Institutes for Hygiene and Epidemiology.   The courses were taught by Ha Minh Lam, Maia Rabaa, and Maciej Boni, and participants came from Vietnam’s national research institutes and provincial public health agencies. The workshop …

Launch of www.ili.vn

Influenza

In the summer of 2009, during the first months of the 2009 influenza pandemic, we launched a community study on influenza-like illness (ILI) in Ho Chi Minh City.   About a dozen private clinics were enrolled initially, and they sent us daily reports on influenza-like illness cases by standard mobile phone SMS text messages.   The study was designed for …

eLife selects outstanding papers for 2013

Drug Resistance

In a bid to shake up the luxury journal cabal, the journal eLife was launched in late 2012 to give researchers a high-quality open-access publishing option that, in addition to having a world-class editorial board, also supports early career scientists and provides open and rigorous peer review. For the second half of 2013, the academic editors of eLife chose five …

The battle against drug resistance just got tougher

Drug Resistance

Do we have any leverage against drug-resistant organisms?   Our post on the Wellcome Trust blog explores the importance of the “fitness cost of drug resistance”. Two studies in 2013 gave notice that our normal expectation — that drug-resistant populations will revert to sensitivity when the selective environment is removed — doesn’t hold true for all pathogens. In mouse and …

Phylogeography: does subsampling solve sampling bias?

Influenza

A few years ago, we were asked by Vietnam’s National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology to help analyze their influenza sequence data. The initial question on everyone’s mind was “where does Vietnam’s influenza come from?”, but it became clear pretty quickly that flu viruses can come from anywhere. The global phylogeography of influenza had already been described by a few …

Population antibody measurements to H7N9 influenza

Influenza

In February 2013, the first human infections with influenza subtype H7N9 were observed in coastal China.   As our group is currently in the process of processing samples from a large serosurvey in southern Vietnam, we analyzed our data to determine if antibody levels in the Vietnamese population to H7 influenza subtypes were higher or lower than expected.   One …

Too lethal for a pandemic?

Influenza

Our Philosophical Transactions article on potential virulence evolution in H5N1 influenza was featured again, this time by Matt Ridley in the Wall Street Journal. The editorial piece was written in the context of the recent influenza H7N9 outbreaks in China and concerns that this newly emerging influenza subtype may have the right characteristics to cause a human influenza pandemic. Matt …

OUCRU workshop on economic epidemiology

Economic Epidemiology

On March 25-26, the OUCRU Mathematical Modeling Team hosted the TDModNet Workshop on Economic Epidemiology. The workshop brought together principal investigators, postdocs, and students from various Oxford overseas units who share interests in health economics, the integration of economic and epidemiological dynamics in disease systems, and how human behavior affects the dynamics of epidemics. The workshop was structured into four …

The future evolution of bird flu

Influenza

A recent publication of ours in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society was featured by Carl Zimmer on National Geographic’s blog site Phenomena. The article discusses the potential paths of virulence evolution for subtype H5N1 avian influenza viruses should they ever cause a pandemic in humans. Carl Zimmer’s blog piece can be found here: The Future Evolution of Bird Flu