Public Health and Epidemiology

Possible topics for discussion:

  • Epidemiology of Covid, TB and other infectious diseases.
  • Epidemiology of chronic diseases due to food related issues.
  • Causal factors for obesity, hypertension and diabetes.Agent-based interaction model for the 1.3 billion population of India based on population and demography statistics.
  • Building socio-economic and health parameters into epidemiological models.
  • Model based simulation of socio-economic patterns and understanding population level health outcomes.
  • One health: interdependence of animal, human and environmental health

Talk Abstracts

Jonathan RushtonGlobal Burden of Animal Diseases - supporting a One Health approach

The strengths and weaknesses of our current systems of data capture and information generation for human and animal health will be presented in order to place into context the need for the Global Burden of Animal Diseases (GBADs) programme ( A description of the GBADs programme will be provided along with the vision of how this programme contributes to the efforts on One Health.

Rajesh SundaresanOn the Karnataka COVID-19 Serosurvey

I will discuss our experience with the Karnataka COVID-19 serosurvey. I hope to touch upon the design, the statistical approaches, some insights on the heterogeneity of the spread, and the difficulties with data availability for a finer grain analysis.

Vijay ChandruTechnology elevated healthcare in reimagining India's health systems

Our collective covid experience made clear the consequences of the lack of a robust system that could respond to low frequency but high impact disasters. The experience not only underlined the need to accelerate efforts towards Universal Health Care (UHC), but also demonstrated radically new ways to achieve that goal. We may not have perfected all of these, but the progress made in under a year is remarkable, nevertheless. Our darkest days have also shone light on new ways to provide on-demand health care for anyone, anywhere. Let’s note these lessons and update our UHC plans.

Arpita GhoshData-driven approach to tackling noncommunicable disease burden in India

An ageing population, the persistence of chronic infectious diseases, a fragile and fragmented health system and now, a COVID-19 pandemic, adds to the challenge of rising burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in India. Several interrelated factors that change over time contribute to the development of NCDs including social, behavioural, environmental, economic and biological determinants. Therefore, it is imperative that we have access to robust and timely data, consider both traditional and non-traditional sources, build linkages, and leverage a range of methods and tools from different disciplines to understand disease aetiology, monitor burden and assess and guide interventions.

Brian WahlThe future of epidemiology in a data rich world

Improved IT infrastructure and the widespread availability of mobile devices in low- and middle-income countries have contributed to unprecedented volumes of data produced globally each year. These data have the potential to be used in a variety of ways to identify and characterize the determinants of population health. They can also be used to support the development of new health interventions. We are now in the early stages of this new frontier in epidemiology. And with comes the promise of great advances and the caution of major pitfalls. In this context, what is a reasonable path forward?

Session Speakers

Jonathan Rushton(IIGH, University of Liverpool)

“Jonathan Rushton is an agricultural economist who specialises in the economics of animal health and food systems. His principal research interests are the: Global Burden of Animal Diseases (GBADs) where he directs a global programme with OIE (; economics of antimicrobial use and resistance in livestock; and assessment of the multidimensionality of food quality and public health. He has recently completed studies on the economics of antimicrobial use in livestock in SE Asia for FAO and the economics of new livestock vaccines for the EU funded SAPHIR project and is currently involved in research on antimicrobial use in livestock in Vietnam (VIPARC), India (DARPI) and the EU (ROADMAP). In 2021 an EU funded project (DECIDE) has begun that will explore data, analytics and decision making for endemic diseases in Europe, Jonathan will support work on the economic assessment of disease burdens and interventions. He is also working with Liverpool city region partners and the University’s Virtual Engineering Centre on mapping the food system in order to find weaknesses in food supply and diet. Jonathan embraces One Health approaches in the search for solutions to society’s health problems.
Jonathan is professor of animal health and food systems economics at the Institute of Infection, Veterinary and Ecological Sciences, University of Liverpool, leads a University Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Food Systems ( and is part of the N8 Agrifood programme ( He is also adjunct Professor in the School of Behavioural, Cognitive & Social Sciences of the University of New England, Australia and president of the International Society for Economics and Social Sciences of Animal Health ( In 2020 he became a Senior IIAD Fellow in Epidemiology at Texas A&M.”

Rajesh Sundaresan(Dean of EECS, IISc)

Rajesh Sundaresan is currently the Dean of the Division of Electrical, Electronics, and Computer Sciences at the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru. His research interests include decision theory, communication, computation, and control over networks, cyber-social systems, and, more recently, data-driven decision frameworks for public health responses.

Vijay Chandru(Commissioner at the Lancet Citizen’s Commission, IISc)

Professor Vijay Chandru joined BSSE as an Adjunct Faculty in December 2016.

He is an academic and an entrepreneur. As an academic, he earned his PhD in the mathematics of decision sciences (operations research) at MIT in 1982. He has taught and conducted research in the computational mathematics of optimization, geometry, logic and biology at Purdue University (1982-1993) and the Indian Institute of Science (1992-2005). He has coauthored a book in computational logic, edited several volumes and published over seventy peer-reviewed research papers. He was elected a Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences in 1996. He is the current president of the Operations Research Society of India for a two year term 2017-2018. Professor Chandru serves as an adjunct faculty member of BioSystems Science & Engineering and a visiting professor of the Robert Bosch Centre for Cyberphysical Systems at IISc.

Professor Chandru is a founder of Strand Life Sciences (, a computational biology company, and of the Association of Biotech led Enterprises (ABLE) and continues to serve in these in executive and advisory capacities. Strand is a new generation healthcare company that has pioneered the advancement of genomics based precision medicine in India. Strand has a multidiscplinary team of close to 200 scientists drawn from information, life and clinical sciences. For work with Strand and biotechnology, he was named a Technology Pioneer of the World Economic Forum in 2007 and the Biospectrum Biotech Entrepreneur of 2007.

For contributions to Science and Society, Professor Chandru was awarded the Hari Om Trust Award by University Grants Commission (MHRD) in 2003, the President’s Medal of INFORMS (Institute for Operations Research and Management Studies) in 2006, and was named in the 50 pioneers of change by India Today in 2008.

Arpita Ghosh(The Georgia Institute for Global Health)

Dr Arpita Ghosh works at the George Institute for Global Health India as a Senior Research Fellow on Big Data. Arpita received her doctoral training at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and post-doctoral training at the National Cancer Institute.

Her work involves quantitative research cutting across multiple areas of public health including childhood vaccination, nutrition, elderly health, and chronic diseases, particularly cancer. Arpita has extensive experience of working with secondary data sets and of conducting epidemiological studies and randomized trials. Her current research interests include causal inference for observational studies, adaptive trial designs for multi-stage studies, and record linkage.

Prior to joining The George Institute, Arpita was at the Public Health Foundation of India as a Research Scientist.

Brian Wahl(Johns Hopkins University)

Brian Wahl, PhD, MPH is an infectious disease epidemiologist and faculty member in the Department of International Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (JHSPH). His research focuses on the changing epidemiology of vaccine-preventable respiratory diseases in children. He leads field studies and employs mathematical modelling to address critical questions related to vaccine program performance, optimization, and equity. He has been based in South Asia for more than a decade where he collaborates with researchers from leading institutions in the region, including those from India and Nepal.

Session Poster

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