Stavroula Chrysanthopoulou among one of the recipients of a Peter G. Peterson Foundation Pandemic Response Policy Research Fund

Research teams at Brown to investigate solutions to nine pressing pandemic challenges

By the Office of the Vice President for Research

The projects, which address problems ranging from mental health to food security to the impact on K-12 education, will receive $643,029 in research support from a new Peterson Foundation fund.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — With support from a new Peter G. Peterson Foundation Pandemic Response Policy Research Fund, nine research teams at Brown University will investigate the challenges presented by pandemics across public health, health care, fiscal policy, the economy and education in the United States, as well as potential solutions in those areas for policymakers to consider. Through a competitive submission process, Brown Vice President for Research Jill Pipher and a committee of faculty reviewers selected nine of 21 research proposals for awards ranging from $47,776 to $100,000. “The selected projects identify pandemic challenges needing solutions,” Pipher said. “They look at its wide-ranging impact to our society, and we believe the projects will advance the national conversation about managing a pandemic in this country. I look forward to the knowledge gained and solutions developed as a result of these investigations.”

Complex Predictive Modeling for Evaluating the Impact of a Pandemic in Public Health. (Stavroula Chrysanthopoulou, Biostatistics; Mark Lurie, Epidemiology; and Aditya Khanna, Behavioral and Social Sciences.)

The primary objective of this project will be to conduct preliminary work for developing a complex simulation model for evaluating the impact of a pandemic in Public Health. As an example we will use the description of the COVID-19 dynamics using agent-based model, which can generalize to simulate other pandemics and epidemics of infectious diseases with similar origins, pathogens, and transmission routes. This work comprises three main components; 1) a systematic review on available complex predictive models for COVID-19 with an emphasis on agent-based models, 2) a systematic search, evaluation, and organization of available data sources for informing important parts of the model, 3) building a tool for implementing fundamental parts of the simulation model in R.

The first component of this project will be essential for understanding the specifics of the advanced predictive modeling techniques and identifying gaps in the literature, which will guide the structure of our proposed model so as to have contribute to the existing research. The second component will assist with retrieving necessary information for calibrating model parameters and validating model outputs to important targets for evaluating the impact of a pandemic on Public Health. The third component will involve initial coding in R and constitute the foundation for building and making the simulation model publicly available to potential stakeholders.  

PI: Stavroula Chrysanthopoulou, Assistant Professor of Biostatistics; Co-PI: Mark Lurie, Associate Professor of Epidemiology, Co-PI: Aditya Khanna, Assistant Professor Behavioral and Social Sciences

To see the other recipients, click here.

Awards from the $1 million fund may be used to pilot entirely new projects and studies or to pivot or scale-up existing projects. Selection criteria included the potential of the research to contribute to understanding pandemics and provide new knowledge or solutions that will impact policy, and the qualifications and diversity of the research team and inclusiveness of project staff and affected communities researched.

“The research insights and analyses from experts at Brown will help lawmakers design solutions to lessen the impact and hasten the recovery from future economic crises,” said Michael A. Peterson, CEO of the Peterson Foundation. “The foundation is pleased to support this vital work to help ensure a stronger fiscal and economic future for our nation.”

A second cycle of project awards will occur in October 2022.