The Digital Epidemiology Lab at Digital Futures, led by Dr. Diego Cuadros (College of Arts & Sciences, Geography), focuses its research on unraveling the complex health challenges prevalent in developing countries. In particular, they focus on combatting devastating diseases such as HIV, malaria, and tuberculosis in the African region. Their innovative and comprehensive methodology encompasses spatial analyses, biostatistics, mathematical modeling, and sophisticated computer simulations, which provides them with a clearer understanding of how such epidemics proliferate and evolve so that they can devise impactful and effective intervention strategies.
Collaboration is a key pillar of the work in the Digital Epidemiology Lab, especially the strong partnerships they have forged with leading institutions and health experts across Africa. This includes collaborations with Strathmore University in Kenya, Stellenbosch University in South Africa, the Centre for Infectious Disease Research in Zambia, the Center for Diseases Control in Zimbabwe, and the Infectious Diseases Institute in Uganda. These partnerships help the lab tackle immediate health challenges as well as design and evaluate intervention programs, particularly for the HIV epidemic.
Part of this collaborative mission also includes capacity building in partner countries. To do this, the Digital Epidemiology Lab conducts workshops for local professionals and researchers to teach essential methodological skills in data analysis and quantitative methods to equip them with the necessary skills to sustain and advance the work they do together.
The work of the lab is having a tangible impact on global health. However, according to Dr. Cuadros, their work “is not just about scientific discovery; it’s about fostering a culture of collaboration and empowerment among our international partners.”