PhD opportunity: New translational methods towards the estimation of
age- and time-dependent epidemiological parameters for pertussis
resurgence in Belgium using serial seroprevalence and incidence data

The aim of the research project is to develop new advanced,
state-of-the-art methodology for epidemiologists and biostatisticians
interested in modeling infectious disease spread from person to
person. More specifically, we focus on combining various data sources
for the estimation of age and time-varying epidemiological parameters
governing the spread of infectious diseases in naive or partly
immunized populations. Special attention is directed towards the study
of pertussis, or whooping cough, which remains an important public
health concern in many industrialized countries with large outbreaks
despite vaccination. Quantification of pertussis outbreak risk is
therefore of utmost importance to establish adequate intervention
strategies. However, this is complicated by the presence of individual
heterogeneity in susceptibility, infectiousness and social contact
behavior (i.e., propensity to make contact with others) which needs to
be accounted for in disease spread models.

In conclusion, there are two main objectives in this proposal:

(1) Develop new statistical methods for the estimation of key
time-varying epidemiological parameters describing disease spread
using serial seroprevalence data and to integrate all available data
sources into these models;

(2) Account for individual heterogeneity in acquiring infections as
well as in waning processes in the newly developed methodology.

Background: background in mathematics, statistics, theoretical biology
Location: Hasselt University
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