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Informatics Research Seminar: Environment-hosts pathogen transfer quantification: An agent-based queuing theoretic framework

January 25, 2017 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm UTC+0

Speaker: Shi Chen, PhD
Presented from UNC-C

Broadcast Link: SEMINAR 

The Informatics Research Seminar Series is sponsored by Duke University and a collaboration with UNC-Chapel Hill, NCCU, UNC-Charlotte, and ECU. This series explores key areas in Health Informatics and include research results, overview of programs of research, basic, applied, and evaluative projects, as well as research from varied epistemological stances.


Queuing theory studies the properties of waiting queues and has been applied to investigate direct host-to-host transmitted disease dynamics, but its potential in modeling environmentally transmitted pathogens has not been explored. In this study, a queuing theory modeling framework is used to study the in-hospital contact process between environments and hosts and potential nosocomial pathogen transfer, where environments are servers, and hosts are customers. Two types of queues (short and long, with the same server utilization) are investigated. Various forms of transfer functions are considered that map contact duration to the amount of pathogen transfer based on existing literatures (assuming constant pathogen amount). A case study is presented of real in-hospital contact process and numerical simulations for the stochastic queues to analyze the amount of pathogen transfer under the eight different transfer functions. This study highlights the importance of the interactions among contact process (between host and environment), transfer functions that map pathogen transfer quantity, and pathogen demography during the contact process. The modeling framework can be readily extended to more complicated queuing networks by adjusting number/types of servers and customers.


Shi Chen, PhD, is an assistant professor of health informatics at Department of Public Health Sciences, University of North Carolina Charlotte. Dr. Chen received a dual-title degree of Entomology and Operations Research from Penn State University, and completed a five-year postdoc training in epidemiology. Dr. Chen’s research and teaching interests include data analysis and modeling of infectious disease dynamics, health informatics, complex human-environment interactions, etc.


January 25, 2017
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
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