Seminar: Arathi Arakala

Estimating the elimination feasibility of macroparasitic diseases subjected to regular mass drug administration

  • SPEAKER: Dr Arathi Arkala, Monash University/ RMIT
  • Date: Friday 10th November
  • Time: 3:00pm–4:00pm (Talk & Q/A)
  • Venue: Building 8 Level 9 Room 66 (AGR) RMIT City campus

The seminar will be followed by snacks and drinks.  All students, staff and visitors are welcome

ABSTRACT: Progress towards controlling and eliminating macroparasitic diseases, including schistosomiasis, onchocerciasis, and lymphatic filariasis, is advancing rapidly as national governments, multinational NGOs, and pharmaceutical companies launch collaborative chemotherapeutic control campaigns. Critical questions remain regarding the potential for achieving elimination of these infections, and analytical methods are needed to quickly estimate progress towards—and the probability of achieving—elimination over specific timeframes. Making use of the corpus of knowledge of mathematical epidemiology, estimators of elimination potential based on mechanistic models are derived and then applied to commonly collected epidemiological data, without the need to develop nor fit full mathematical models. A so-called ‘elimination feasibility coefficient’ is developed and compared to commonly used metrics of population viability for the parasitic disease schistosomiasis. We demonstrate the estimator’s value and discuss how it may be used in planning and evaluating ongoing elimination efforts for a range of macroparasitic diseases.

BIO: Dr. Arathi Arakala is a research fellow and lecturer at the School of Science in RMIT. She graduated with a PHD in Mathematics from RMIT in 2008. For the most part of her research career she has worked in pattern recognition and machine learning applied to biometric security. In 2016, she diversified her research interests to infectious disease modelling, taking on a part time research position at Monash University’s School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine. For the last two years she has been actively working to develop a better understanding of the spread and control of human diseases like schistosomiasis and tuberculosis. In addition she is working with a team of researchers at RMIT and CSIRO on using mathematical modelling to develop control strategies for carp in the Murray river.