Principal Investigator

Bryan T. Grenfell

bryan_grenfellPrincipal Investigator

Kathryn Briger & Sarah Fenton Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Public Affairs, Woodrow Wilson School

I am a population biologist studying the dynamics of the spatial and temporal interaction of infectious diseases, particularly as related to the control of disease in human and animal populations. I work at the interface of theoretical models and empirical data [or I combine the development of theory with pioneering analyses of large empirical datasets] to demonstrate how the density of a population and randomness, or disorder, interact to drive population dynamics in space and time. I am particularly interested in the evolutionary dynamics and control of highly immunizing infections such as measles and influenza. I study processes that occur in populations at different scales and how infections move through such groups of organisms, thereby helping in the control of disease in humans and animals.

Post-doctoral Researchers

Max Lau

Postdoctoral Research Associate

I am a statistician who is interested in developing and applying robust statistical methodology in epidemiological and ecological modeling. I have particular interest in the joint inference of epidemiological and genetic data. During my Ph.D. study in Heriot-Watt University (Edinburgh), I have, jointly with Professor Gavin Gibson, developed novel methodology for model assessment and for the integration of epidemiological and sequence data. My current work focuses on the developments and applications of these methodologies.


Juliette Paireau

juliette_smallPostdoctoral Research Associate

My research focuses on the spatio-temporal dynamics of infectious diseases, in particular their complex interactions with climatic factors using various quantitative methods (spatial statistics, Bayesian hierarchical modeling, wavelet analyses). I am particularly interested in analyzing how this knowledge can help to improve control and prevention strategies. During my Ph.D. at Institut Pasteur I worked on the spatial epidemiology of meningococcal meningitis in Niger. The dynamics of bacterial meningitis worldwide is still my main research topic but I am also involved in collaborations on other diseases such as measles and encephalitis.

Colin Worby

img_4278_1-1Postdoctoral Research Associate

I am a statistical modeler, and am interested in a variety of research questions concerning the epidemiological dynamics of infectious diseases. I am particularly interested in the development of new methods to investigate disease transmission using pathogen genomic data, which can potentially provide a great new insight into many questions of public health importance. The collection of sequence data is becoming increasingly common, and can provide a signal for dynamics at various levels. Firstly, at the within-host level; investigating the pathogen population during disease carriage can shed light on diversification and selection, the impact of antibiotic use, and the size of the founding population, which in turn may be suggestive of the nature of disease acquisition. Secondly, at the individual level – high genetic similarity of pathogen samples between hosts can be indicative of epidemiological relatedness. Identifying transmission links is greatly beneficial for optimizing infection control protocols and highlighting risk factors for onward transmission. Thirdly, at the population level – sequence data can be used to investigate between-community/region transmission, the impact of large-scale vaccination and the introduction of pathogens from non-human reservoirs. My research explores many of these themes using statistical inference, data simulation and results from population genetics.

Ph.D. Students

Sinead E. Morris

Sinead Morris

Graduate student

I am broadly interested in integrating immunological and epidemiological data to model the cross-scale dynamics of infectious diseases. Current projects include quantifying the impact of within-host viral persistence on population-level transmission. During my graduate research I have also worked on the spatiotemporal dynamics of a range of acute infections including measles, dolphin morbillivirus and human influenza; and previously, at the University of Glasgow, I modeled the development of new blood vessels in response to tumour growth and the spread of infectious diseases on agricultural networks.

Personal website:


Michael Mina

img_4491Graduate student, MD/PhD

I study the complexities and dynamics that drive or prevent infectious diseases through a combination of clinical and laboratory studies and mathematical modeling. My major focus centers around long-term immunologic effects of measles on immune-memory homeostasis and immune repertoire diversity. In particular, I am interested in how a short term infection with measles perturbs the long-term immune memory pool, thus altering long-term susceptibility to other infectious diseases.

I am also particularly interested in unintended effects of vaccinations on individuals and populations towards non-vaccine target infectious diseases. For instance, by reducing measles across the global population, measles vaccinations not only reduce measles infections, but I find also have played a large part in reducing susceptibility and deaths due perhaps to all other infectious diseases. A slightly different but related area of research, I have found that live attenuated influenza vaccines enhance nasopharyngeal carriage of pathogenic bacteria (S. pneumoniae and S. aureus). At the individual level, the vaccine alters growth dynamics of the bacterial pathogens, and, because these alterations may well enhance bacterial transmission in a density dependent fashion, the live influenza vaccine may effect unrelated bacterial pathogens at the population level as well. I think of this as an extension of the vaccine herd effect, allowing herd effects of vaccines to impact non-vaccine targeted pathogen dynamics amongst unvaccinated individuals.

Alex Becker

Alex Becker

Graduate student

I am interested in models of infectious disease spread at the population level. My current research is focused on the cross-scale dynamics of measles with emphasis on the school- and community-level. Additionally, I’m interested in expanding the methods used to fit time series data. Previous research has focused on modeling within host dynamics of tuberculosis and statistical inference of measles incidence data.

Research Assistants

Pascale Stiles

Pascale Stiles

Research Assistant

I work on aggregating incidence time data and modeling the temporal associations between acute viral infections and type 1 diabetes and asthma, exploring both seasonality and time trend changes. The aim is to understand the impact of vaccination beyond communicable disease prevention. I graduated from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.


Research Specialists

Heidi Robbins

screen-shot-2016-09-29-at-11-39-14-amResearch Specialist

I have been very content to stay on at Princeton in the EEB department as a research assistant since completing my undergraduate studies in EEB in 2013. I continue to enjoy studying infectious disease dynamics. My undergraduate thesis mentored by Andrea Graham focused on elephant herpes viruses among African elephants in Samburu, Kenya. Now I am working on an issue closer to home: HIV/AIDS in Newark, NJ. I work closely with Ruthie Birger expanding a mathematical model of HIV infection and care in Newark to include pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and prepare cost-effectiveness analyses. When not on campus, I am likely to be found rowing a boat on Lake Carnegie where I train with the US National Team in hopes of being selected for the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Lab Alumni

Thomas P. van Boeckel

Former Postdoctoral Research Associate
I am a spatial epidemiologist interested in both statistical and mechanistic approaches to study infectious diseases. I combine geo-referenced data and remote-sensed imagery to predict the distribution of species and disease. I am (or have been) mapping: avian influenza, malaria, AIDS, mosquitoes, antibiotic resistance, chickens, ducks and bark beetles.

Ruthie B. Birger

Former Ph.D. student

My research at Princeton focused on the population and within-host dynamics of HIV and hepatitis C virus. I am broadly interested in mathematical modeling, evolution, disease ecology, public health and drug resistance. Currently I am a Postdoctoral Fellow with the Earth Institute at Columbia University.

Quentin Caudron

Former Ph.D. student & Postdoctoral Research Associate
I am a theoretical physicist with interests in mathematical and computational biology, signal and image processing, and machine learning. I study the dynamics of measles epidemics in small populations using dynamical systems, statistical inference, and time-series methods. I also work alongside ecoimmunologists to develop algorithms for the image processing of histopathology slides, in order to automatically extract quantitative structural information from image data. In 2016 I accepted a position with CBRE.