Northeastern University Secures $17.5 Million Grant to Predict and Prepare for Future Outbreaks
In a move to bolster the nation’s response to infectious diseases, Northeastern University has been awarded a substantial $17.5 million grant from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The university will use this funding to establish a cutting-edge center focused on predicting and preparing for future outbreaks, aptly named “EPISTORM: The Center for Advanced Epidemic Analytics and Predictive Modeling Technology.”
Heading this groundbreaking initiative is Alessandro Vespignani, director of Northeastern’s Network Science Institute. He and his team will coordinate a consortium comprising 10 research institutions, healthcare systems, and private companies – all working collaboratively to develop innovative tools and technologies for effective epidemic tracking.
Thanks to this grant from the CDC’s Center for Forecasting and Outbreak Analytics, often referred to as the “National Weather Service for epidemic threats,” Northeastern University will be at the forefront of nationwide efforts to combat future epidemics. The university will utilize algorithms to analyze vast amounts of data from various sources, including hospital admissions, wastewater surveillance, social media, and travel patterns, enabling them to forecast the spread of infections accurately.
Northeastern University has a track record of excellence in this field, with their researchers having previously advised the White House on the impact of social distancing guidelines during the early days of the pandemic. Leveraging their expertise, the creation of EPISTORM brings hope for even more effective epidemic response strategies in the future.
This national network will consist of 13 centers, with Northeastern University assuming a leading role. Another prominent institution, Boston University, will also play a vital subcontractor position. Moreover, additional funding has been allocated to institutions such as the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, with a total of $23.5 million awarded to facilitate their participation in this ambitious project.
By integrating artificial intelligence and network science methodologies, the ultimate aim of this initiative is to fortify the nation’s defenses against future epidemics. While the CDC has not released specific details about the nationwide network at this time, it is clear that this collaboration will signify a significant step forward in humanity’s ability to anticipate and mitigate the impact of infectious diseases.
Through their groundbreaking research and innovative approaches, Northeastern University continues to solidify its position as a leading force in infectious disease prevention and response. With the establishment of EPISTORM, the anticipation for a future with more efficient epidemic forecasting and preparedness reaches new heights.
Internet geek. Wannabe bacon enthusiast. Web trailblazer. Music maven. Entrepreneur. Pop culture fan.