DPhil student Sabrina Li has been accepted into the highly competitive Turing Enrichment Scheme at the Alan Turing Institute.
The Scheme offers students currently enrolled in a doctoral programme at a UK university the opportunity to join the Alan Turing institute for up to twelve months, where they can continue their PhD while enriching their research and making new collaborations.
Sabrina's research investigates how human and environmental dynamics drive the spatial spread of yellow fever virus - a mosquito-borne virus that causes severe disease and death in humans. In Brazil, more than 400 million unvaccinated people live in areas at risk of yellow fever. Despite the existence of a vaccine, eradication efforts have been undermined by transmission between sylvatic (jungle) mosquitos and non-human primates (such as monkeys) in rural areas. Infected people moving from these areas can circulate the disease to large urban centres, which are susceptible to environmental and socio-economic conditions that facilitate transmission. To accelerate detection in Brazil, rigorous research is needed to understand how human-environment interactions influence yellow fever spread.
She aims to use her findings to develop data-driven policy for controlling yellow fever virus and similar mosquito-borne diseases.
During her placement at the Alan Turing Institute, Sabrina plans to explore how artificial intelligence (AI) and data science can be applied to advance detection and prediction of infectious disease spread in human populations, and how these technologies can be safely adopted to shape data-driven public health policy.
Sabrina said, "I am very grateful to the Turing institute for giving me this opportunity to develop my interests in AI and data science applications in public health. I look forward to contributing to this multidisciplinary community."
Sabrina is also contributing to ongoing research on COVID-19 spread and heath inequities in Brazil. She hopes to combine some of this work with her thesis project to better understand how the pandemic, which has resulted in a higher number of infections and deaths in Brazil, co-exists with mosquito-borne diseases endemic to the region, such as yellow fever.