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Preparing and Responding to Emerging Pandemics (PREP)

Cluster leads: Joseph Mankowski and Shruti Mehta

This cluster will address key gaps in computational methods from modeling to phylogenomics and One Health. This investment will support a group of interdisciplinary faculty who can rapidly leverage existing tools, expertise, and relationships to guide evolving scientific inquiry and policy decisions around current and future pandemics.

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the incredible strengths in research, practice, and communication at Johns Hopkins University, which spearheaded effective responses to the pandemic not only in hospitals and laboratories, but in computational, engineering, and epidemiology departments. The university-wide research response provided key insight scientifically, clinically, and for policy. To accelerate our response to the next outbreak, this cluster will establish a cohesive group of researchers working together under a common framework to provide translatable scientific insights to address the problem of emerging pandemics. This cluster will build on existing strengths with key research developments that will position Johns Hopkins to guide policy recommendations for current and future emerging infectious diseases.

This cluster will be recruiting 3 Bloomberg Distinguished Professors and 3 junior faculty members to collaborate together along with existing Johns Hopkins faculty in these areas of research.

Interested in this cluster? Contact us to learn more.

More Information

Research Goals / Scholar Background

This cluster will establish a transdisciplinary community of leading scholars at Johns Hopkins University that will be positioned to rapidly leverage existing tools, expertise, and relationships to guide evolving scientific inquiry and policy decisions. The cluster targets faculty who will provide the needed bridges between fields and who have world-class research programs that will fill critical gaps in our tools and expertise at each stage of the pandemic response. These scholars will bring together expertise from laboratory biology, ecology, clinical medicine, epidemiology, statistics, mathematics, engineering, health systems science, and ‘omics’ to form an integrated team spanning departments and schools within the university. Cluster scholars will have expertise in translation, communication, and policy.

Some of the key questions this cluster will ask are:

  • Preparedness: Which emerging zoonotic pathogens should be prioritized for potential risk of causing outbreaks?
  • Early Detection: What is the current and projected distribution of disease (situational awareness and forecasting)?
  • Control: How can we best track and respond to continually evolving pathogens?
  • Elimination: How can current and novel suite of tools (e.g., diagnostic, therapeutic, preventative) be used to achieve elimination?

Cluster scholars will have expertise in one or more of the following areas:

  • Infectious disease transmission modeling, network and optimization science
  • One Health and zoonotic spillover events
  • Molecular epidemiology including phylogenetics

Leveraging research strengths across Johns Hopkins

The cluster will build on specific expertise and institutional advantages that position Johns Hopkins University to guide policy recommendations for future pandemics. The pandemic has highlighted JHU’s many strengths in the field of infectious diseases. JHU faculty have worked across departments and schools to assist local, national, and international governments and other health agencies to analyze and synthesize surveillance data to inform COVID-19 interventions. They have leveraged the outstanding translational and communication skills across schools to assist policy makers and the public understand the state of the pandemic, the challenges, and the solutions. Most notably, the Coronavirus Resource Center – anchored by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering’s COVID-19 Dashboard – has been a trusted global source of information.

Johns Hopkins University and health system have a range of resources, infrastructure, and facilities in place to support the goals of this cluster. The cluster will benefit from support in terms of space, collaboration opportunities, and computational resources provided by the Bloomberg School of Public Health, the School of Medicine, the Whiting School of Engineering, and the Applied Physics Laboratory, including a Genetic Resources Core, numerous animal model systems including expanded core facilities from lentiviruses to include SARS-CoV-2, and high-performance computing.

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    Vice Provost for Research

    265 Garland Hall
    3400 North Charles Street
    Baltimore, MD 21218

    (443) 927-1957

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