American Association for the Advancement of Science names Bjørnstad a fellow

Ottar N. Bjørnstad, professor of entomology, biology and statistics at Penn State, has been named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Election as an AAAS Fellow is an honor bestowed by peers upon members of the AAAS, the world's largest general scientific society and the publisher of the journal Science.

Bjørnstad conducts research at the intersection of ecology, mathematical biology and statistics to improve the understanding of disease outbreaks. His work is focused on the spatial and temporal spread of such acute diseases as measles, rubella, whooping cough and influenza, and on outbreak dynamics of agricultural and forest insect pests. Bjørnstad's AAAS fellowship is in recognition of his contributions to the field of theoretical biology, particularly in the areas of the ecology of disease outbreaks and ecological statistics.

Bjørnstad has collaborated with the epidemiological unit of Doctors Without Borders on optimizing vaccination campaigns in sub-Saharan Africa. He contributes to the Vaccine Modeling Initiative (VMI) of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation with his expertise in using mathematical models to improve global disease-elimination programs. He is a Senior Research Fellow at the Fogarty International Center as part of the joint National Institutes of Health and Department of Homeland Security program on Research and Policy on Infectious Disease Dynamics (RaPIDD). He also works closely with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service on mitigating insect outbreaks and pest invasions.

In 2009, Bjørnstad was awarded the Alex and Jessie C. Black Award for Excellence in Research from the College of Agricultural Sciences at Penn State. In 2008 and 2009, he received the Ecological Research Award from the Ecological Society of Japan. In 2008, he was awarded the ENRI Early Career Award from the Environmental and Natural Resources Institute of Penn State. In 2007, Penn State awarded Bjørnstad a Faculty Scholar Medal for Outstanding Achievement in the life and health sciences for his research in modeling the spatial and temporal dynamics of disease proliferation and animal populations.

Bjørnstad has published more than 130 scientific papers, including four in Nature, six in Science and five in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. He has served on the editorial boards of Ecology, Ecological Monographs, Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B and Journal of Animal Ecology, and is currently on the board of editors of Population Ecology.

Bjørnstad earned his bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees at the University of Oslo in Norway. He was a postdoctoral scholar at the University of Oslo, University of Cambridge and University of California - Santa Barbara. From 2004 to 2009 he was co-director of the Penn State Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics. He held a visiting professorship at the University of Oslo from 2008 to 2009, and in 2011 Bjørnstad was elected as a visiting scholar to Oxford University's Wolfson College.

Last Updated January 17, 2014