Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering

Faculty Candidate Seminar


The fluid dynamics of disease transmission


Dr. Lydia Bourouiba


Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Thursday, April 4, 2013 at 3:00:00 PM


MRDC Building, Room 4211


David Hu


The mechanisms governing the transfer of pathogens between infected and non-infected members of a population are critical in shaping the outcome of an epidemic. This is true whether one considers human, animal or plant populations. Despite major efforts to investigate the large-scale population-level disease dynamics and the micro-scale pathogen-level dynamics, the fundamental mechanisms of transmission of most pathogens remain poorly understood. A critical gap in our understanding of the bridge between population-level and pathogen-level mechanisms persists. Drawing upon clinical data, fluid experiments and theoretical modeling I will discuss the dynamics of transmission of various pathogens through the lens of fundamental fluid dynamics.


Lydia Bourouiba is a physical applied mathematician working on fundamental fluid mechanics problems at the interface of epidemiology and fluid dynamics. She completed her Ph.D. from McGill University in November 2008, studying rotating homogeneous turbulence theoretically and numerically. She was then an NSERC Postdoctoral Fellow in applied mathematics at the Centre for Disease Modelling of Toronto. There, she examined the modes of transmission of avian influenza. She then continued her postdoctoral research at MIT as an NSERC Fellow and Instructor in the Department of Mathematics where she joined the Applied Math Fluid Laboratory in 2010. There, she merged her two scientific backgrounds and combined theory and experiments to identify and elucidate modes of infectious disease transmission where fluids are ubiquitous.


Refreshments will be served.