Student Feature - Brittany Lemmon

By Invited Student Contributor


I am a first-year Ph.D. student studying Biostatistics at the University of California, Davis. Prior to starting graduate school I attended the University of Nevada, Reno and graduated in May 2019 with a Bachelor’s in Mathematics and Statistics and a minor in Biology. I was part of the honors program for four years at UNR which gave me the opportunity to connect with faculty in my department and develop a senior thesis. I worked with Dr. Schmidt my senior year and produced a senior thesis entitled “Contagion Dynamics on an Adaptive Network: Norovirus as a Case Study”. Through this project I was able to study mathematical and statistical principles, such as stochastic processes and adaptive networks, in the context of biological systems with public health applications. I am particularly interested in applying statistics to public health and epidemiology and hope to work in these fields in the future.

SIAM DS Involvement:

I participated in the SIAM Conference on Applications of Dynamical Systems in May 2019 to present my senior thesis research. I was fortunate to receive a Red Sock award for my poster presentation at this conference. This research and presentation process was very helpful for me in both developing my research skills and helping me discover topics I would also like to research in the future. I would like to thank Dr. Schmidt and Dr. Hurtado again for not only helping me develop my research but also being a great support system during my senior year.

SIAM DS Research Abstract:

Classical contagion models, such as SIR, and other infectious disease models typically assume a well-mixed contact process. This may be unrealistic for infectious disease spread where contact structure changes when individuals are aware of other individual’s infection status, individuals showing symptoms isolate themselves, or individuals are aware of an ongoing epidemic in the population. Here we investigate contagion dynamics in an adaptive network context, meaning that the contact network is changing over time due to individuals responding to an infectious disease in the population. We consider norovirus as a specific example and investigate questions related to disease dynamics and applications to public health.

Future plans:

I don’t have any specific topics in mind for my graduate research but I do know that I would like to work in epidemiology related research, especially in infectious disease. After graduation I would like to work in public health in a setting like a state department or the CDC. I feel very fortunate to be here at UC Davis and look forward to my time here.

Categories: Student Feature

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