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The EPPIcenter at UCSF aims to advance the understanding of infectious diseases to reduce global morbidity and mortality. We believe that the greatest success in the fight against infectious diseases will come through a highly interdisciplinary, systems epidemiology approach, connecting traditionally siloed theoretical work, technology development, generation and collection of empiric data, and analysis using statistical and mathematical modeling. We are thrilled to host Dr Zulma Cucunubá in our lecture series.

Zulma M. Cucunubá MD. MSc. PhD. is an Assistant Professor in Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatístics, and a faculty of Medicine at Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá, Colombia. She also holds a Honorary Lectureship position in the MRC Centre for Infectious Disease Analysis  at Imperial College London in the UK.Her research focuses on using statistic and mathematical methods to understand the determinants of the spread of infectious diseases and the impact of control strategies, with a particular focus in Latin America.

During 2020-21, her research focused on COVID-19 impact and control in Latin America. But, over the past 10 years, she hs worked on  topics such as: vector-borne diseases, including Chagas disease, Zika, chikungunya and malaria, emerging infections and epidemic response as well as vaccine preventable diseases.

Representative projects include:

DICTUM - Decreasing the Impact of Chagas Disease Through Modelling. Dr Cucunubá leads this project in collaboration with Prof Maria-Gloria Basañez, and Dr Pierre Nouvellet. This is a collaboration between Imperial College London, Universidad Javeriana, the NTDs-Modelling Consortium, Princeton University and the Pan-American Health Organization. In this project, we are modelling the Force-of-Infection and measuring the impact on disease burden of Chagas disease across Latin American countries, as well as testing different modelling approaches to measure progress towards the achievement of WHO 2020 Goals for Chagas disease. 

ARBOVIRUSES-  various projects on modelling and analysis of arboviruses in Latin America, including Zika, Dengue, Chikungunya, Mayaro and other alphaviruses.  These include supervision of masters and PhD students.

COVID-19 -  part of the Imperial College COVID-19 Response Team lead by Prof Neil Ferguson. Dr Cucunubá  also leads various projects and collaborations on epidemiology and modelling of the impact of COVID-19 in Colombia, including supervision of masters students at Universidad Javeriana.

 The Vaccine Impact Modelling Consortium (VIMC) is a large project lead by Dr Tini Garske and supported by GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The project includes over a dozen independent modelling groups in several institutions and countries. I am part of the Core Scientific Team that looks at modelling comparison, aggregation and quality standards for modelling the impact of vaccination programmes in low and middle-income countries, for a wide range of vaccine preventable diseases that includes:  Hepatitis B, Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib), Human Papillomavirus (HPV), Japanese encephalitis (JE), Meningitis A, Measles, Pneumococcal disease, Rotavirus, Rubella and Yellow Fever.


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