Postdoctoral Research Scientist - Multiscale disease transmission modeling

Location: Bellevue, WA, USA

Date Published: February 24, 2017

The Institute for Disease Modeling (IDM) team is composed of research scientists and software professionals who focus on creating powerful and innovative disease modeling and data analysis tools to help researchers and policy makers understand diseases, their causes, the way they spread, and the best types of interventions to use for the particular situation faced. IDM partners with selected universities, NGOs, government ministries, and other research and public health institutions focused on researching new ways to understand and combat diseases both locally and globally. The IDM team develops computational tools to inform global disease eradication policy, conducts innovative analyses of epidemiologically- and policy-relevant data (programmatic data, financial data, clinical trials data, and cluster surveys data), and identifies epidemiologically critical knowledge gaps. As part of our work, we routinely collaborate with groups at the World Health Organization, the Center for Disease Control, PATH, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, ministries of health in the developing world, as well as universities and research institutes.

We seek a two year full-time Postdoctoral Research Scientist to work as part of the IDM research team and collaborate on the development, refinement, and utilization of infectious disease models for epidemiological research, with a focus on polio eradication.  To more accurately model the probabilistic dynamics of outbreaks in places where polio exposure is rare and population immunity is rapidly changing in response to shifts in global vaccination policy, we need to better understand how disease percolates through structured populations at the household, village, district, national, and regional scales in the presence of heterogeneous immunity.  As a member of the Epidemiology group, the postdoctoral researcher will drive innovations in multiscale transmission modeling—both in model structure and calibration procedures. The researcher will design, configure, calibrate, and exercise models to answer questions about the roles of population structure and movement on outbreak risk, informing effective public health campaigns for outbreak containment, guiding the progression of global vaccination policy to achieve and sustain polio eradication, and improving the state of the art in applied multiscale modeling more generally. The research, models, and results will be presented by the researcher to key stakeholders and at conferences, and published in academic journals. For interested applicants, there are also opportunities to study pandemic and eradication forecasting or the interaction of genomics and infectious disease epidemiology.


  • Analysis of the literature on multiscale stochastic modeling to identify best principles for practical simulation of disease transmission in structured populations
  • Review scientific literature and determine which aspects of biology, demography, and geography are relevant to the model.
  • Write software to implement multiscale disease transmission models and calibrate them to field transmission data, including from a recent clinical trial designed for this purpose.
  • Work closely with the modelers, programmers, and statisticians on the team to use models to conduct sensitivity analyses, explore tradeoffs among possible interventions, and optimize global health strategies.
  • Communicate research through publications, conference and stakeholder presentations, and collaborations with external partners.

Key Qualifications and Required Skills:

  • Ph.D. in a quantitative field (e.g. Physics, Applied Mathematics, Statistics, Epidemiology, Quantitative Biology)
  • Expertise in numerical analysis, dynamical systems, stochastic processes, and statistical inference.
  • Prior work with stochastic dynamical modeling and model calibration preferred. Disease transmission modeling experience an asset, but not required.
  • Ability to read and write research articles in biology and applied mathematics.
  • Proficiency in at least one data-analysis or scripting language (MATLAB, R, python). C/C++ experience an asset, but not required.
  • Multiple published articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals.  List of articles to be submitted with application.


We are an equal opportunity employer