Michael J. Mina, MD, PhD (Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Harvard Medical School)


Monday, April 19, 2021, 11:00am to 12:00pm


Zoom conference - Register at https://crcs.seas.harvard.edu/ai-social-impact

Title: Advances in virology, immunology, and computation to monitor and control outbreaks

Abstract: Advances in biological and computational sciences have enabled massive leaps in basic research and medicine over the recent decades. Relative to these medical advances, advances in public health and particularly infectious diseases have been modest. The SARS-CoV2 pandemic has shown us the consequences of investing so fully in medicine without a strong foundation of public health. This talk will provide examples of the technological leaps that are taking place in the medical sciences, in part as a result of COVID-19, and will discuss how they can be coupled with advances in computational tools to usher in exciting new approaches to public health that can help us get out of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic and prevent similar global catastrophes in the future. 


Bio: Michael Mina, MD, PhD, is an assistant professor of epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and a core member of the School’s Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics (CCDD). He is additionally an assistant professor in immunology and infectious diseases at the Harvard Chan School and associate medical director in clinical microbiology (molecular diagnostics) in the Department of Pathology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School.

He earned his MD and PhD degrees from Emory University, with doctoral work split between CDC, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the Respiratory and Meningeal Pathogens Research Unit in Johannesburg, South Africa, and the Emory Vaccine Center. He completed his postdoctoral work at Princeton University in ecology and evolutionary biology (of infectious disease dynamics) with Prof. Bryan Grenfell and at Harvard Medical School in the Department of Genetics with Prof. Stephen Elledge. He completed his residency training in clinical pathology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School.

Mina’s research combines mathematical and epidemiological models with high-throughput phage-display based serological laboratory investigations, including development of new technologies and statistical pipelines to better understand the population and immunological consequences and patterns underlying infectious diseases. Much of the work toward new technology development is performed in close collaboration with Steve Elledge at HMS. Major themes of his lab include (i) development of new approaches (laboratory and statistical methods) to enable extremely high-throughput serological surveillance of infectious pathogens; (ii) use of high-complexity antibody profiling and epidemiological data to understand the pathogenesis of vaccine-preventable diseases, with a specific focus on measles infections and vaccines; (iii) elucidating broad unintended/heterologous effects of vaccines to alter transmission patterns of unrelated infectious pathogens—using serology and dynamical models; and (iv) understanding the life-history of infectious pathogens across ages, genders, geographies, and times. In addition to his interests in infectious diseases, Mina’s research also explores more fundamental questions of immunity and immune repertoires: how they form, how they persist, how they are passed on, and how they become perturbed during natural life-events.