Alison Galvani

2012 Regional Award Winner — Faculty

Alison Galvani

Current Position:
Director, Yale Center for Infectious Disease Modeling and Analysis (CIDMA) Burnett and Stender Families Professor of Epidemiology

Yale School of Public Health & Yale School of Medicine


Recognized for: Integrating epidemiology, evolutionary ecology, mathematics, clinical medicine, and economics to generate predictions not possible within these disciplines alone

Areas of Research Interest and Expertise: Disease etiology, normative questions of resource allocation in health conditions such as HPV, HIV, tuberculosis, and influenza


  • PhD, Epidemiology, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
  • BA, Biological Sciences, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK

Dr. Alison Galvani uses mathematical modeling to generate insights into key areas of public health, most notably the spread of illnesses such as SARS, HIV, influenza, TB, pertussis, schistosomiasis, chagas, sleeping sickness, leprosy and HPV. She uses data and techniques from epidemiology, ecology, evolution, biostatistics, clinical medicine, economics, and psychology to develop models of disease transmission.  Her work has resulted in the publication of 123 articles in top journals including Science, Nature, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and The Lancet

Dr. Galvani was part of one of modeling teams that questioned the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) policy of targeting the elderly during flu season. She and her colleagues said this policy did not take into account the role played by transmission dynamics, especially among school-age children and their parents and that targeting this group would be a better way to protect the entire community and save lives. 

In a study published in Science in 2013, Dr. Galvani said that Facebook and Twitter could provide vital clues to control infectious diseases by using mathematical models to understand how people respond socially to biological contagions.

In May 2014, Dr. Galvani established the Center for Infectious Diseases Modeling (CIDM) at Yale University, School of Public Health.  It is anticipated that the Center will be affiliated with world experts in modeling, with the intent of leading global initiatives within the field.

"Whether research is risky or not, the key is having a collaborative, interdisciplinary team. With a strong team, the research is no longer risky; it is just interesting. Risky research can help to attract top students, many of whom go on to have stellar careers and remain collaborators."

Key Publications:

  1. Luz PM, Vanni T, Medlock J, Paltiel AD, Galvani AP. Dengue vector control strategies in an urban setting: an economic modeling assessment. The Lancet. 2011
  2. Basu S, Chapman GB, Galvani AP. Integrating epidemiology, psychology, and economics to achieve HPV vaccination targets. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci.2008
  3. Medlock J, Galvani AP. Optimizing Influenza Vaccine Distribution. Science. 2009

 Other Honors:

2013 Bellman Prize
2006 Guggenheim Fellowship
2006 MacMillan Center Director’s Award
2006 Fellowship from Institute for Advanced Studies, Berlin
2005 Young Investigator’s Prize, American Society of Naturalists

In the Media:

SARS-like virus spreads across Middle East. The World Today. May 12, 2014
Expert Opinion: Avian Flu Experiments Pose Public Health Risk. Harvard Magazine. May 20, 2014
Risks Involved in Experiments that Create Potential Pandemic Pathogens are Too Great. Yale News.  May 20, 2014
Q&A: What studying networks can tell us about the world and ourselves. Yale News. February 11, 2014
Canine vaccinations effective deterrent to rabies in Africa. Yale News. January 21, 2014
Turning point: Alison Galvani. Nature Jobs. 11 July 2012