Course Information

Class Meeting Times

Monday 12:00 pm -12:50 pm
Location: 243 Altgeld Hall

Overview and Course Objectives

This seminar course is sponsored by the University of Illinois Graduate College Focal Point Program. It is designed to help equip the next generation of scientists, mathematicians and engineers with the skills and connections they will need to take an interdisciplinary approach to predicting and managing the prevalence of mosquito-borne disease through the reduction of mosquito populations that increase the risk of illness.

The management of water resources to reduce the public health burden of environmentally-transmitted diseases is considered an historical success story resulting from collaborations between public health personnel, biologists and hydrological engineers. At the same time, mosquito-borne pathogens, such as dengue virus, West Nile virus and malaria have expanded or maintained their range and have remained significant public health threats. When mosquitoes carry pathogens, their emergence and persistence are intimately tied to aquatic systems. The reduction of these important health threats depends on the control of mosquito vectors and the reduction that can be achieved through more sustainable water management and with lower doses of insecticides has a strong environmental benefit. These dynamic interactions are expected to change with continued anthropogenic influences, including climate change. Our ability to link water management decisions and practices to mosquito production is limited by the lack of interaction among hydrologists, public health officials, mathematicians, disease modelers and biologists. This course provides a forum to help bridge interdisciplinary gaps among these groups to provide new solutions for reductions of mosquito-borne diseases.

Lectures, Discussions and Readings

The format for this course is to combine lectures, readings and discussions focused on the themes of modeling, mosquito-borne disease and water management. Faculty and students will participate in readings discussions, provide background lectures and interact with guest lecturers throughout the semester.


Student grades are based on their active participation in discussions and the completion of a short paper related to the course themes.

Scheduled Lectures

9/9 Introduction to course. Thinking about complex mathematical and statistical models, vector-borne diseases, water and interdisciplinary approaches to solving problems.
9/16 Epidemiology and introduction of 3 systems: West Nile, malaria, and dengue.
9/23 Mathematical models and the contribution to control and prediction of mosquito-borne disease
9/30 Mosquito-borne disease from a disease ecology perspective
10/7 Hydrological and climate models relative to emerging mosquito-borne disease. Hydrological models and vectors
10/14 Human-managed water systems. Stormwater, sewage, and green infrastructures. Urban land use, aquatic systems and using models to inform development decisions
10/21 Managing mosquito vectors – natural history and control measures.
10/28 Linking epidemiology with ecological modeling with examples from West Nile, malaria and dengues
11/4 Climate change, biological systems and mosquito-borne disease
11/11 - - - - NO CLASS - - - - -
11/18 Challenges in modeling climate change and the global water cycle in the context of mosquito-borne disease
- Thanksgiving BREAK 11/23/2013 - 12/2/2013 -
12/2 Applications of MatLab, Netlogo, and Excel for Ross-McDonald model
12/9 Synthesis and discussion – important themes and lessons learned