Data scientists to discuss how to understand, more effectively control diseases

March 12, 2021

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The upcoming Data Science Community Research Talks will feature two researchers who are investigating data science in better understanding and more effectively controlling disease spread, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nita Bharti, assistant professor of biology and Lloyd Huck Early Career Professor, and Dennis Scanlon, distinguished professor of health policy and administration, will present the online sessions at the talk, scheduled for 11 a.m. on Thursday, March 18.

Advanced registration for the March 18 talks is required.

Bharti will discuss how human movement is an important factor of infectious disease transmission, which makes behavioral interventions important in controlling the spread of COVID-19, for example. She added that when we understand the interactions between movement, behavior and infectious diseases, we can improve intervention strategies by making them more effective and efficient.

Scanlon will discuss the underutilized advanced modeling and analytical approach to more effectively segment populations based on the likely outcomes of COVID infection, and thus inform prevention and interventional responses. He will discuss the reasons for this shortcoming, which include systemic structural issues in the United States that prevent using data and modeling to its fullest potential.

The Data Science Community is a grassroots initiative supported by Penn State's Teaching and Learning with Technology, Institute for Computational and Data Sciences and University Libraries. To learn more about Data Science Community events or to join the community mailing list, visit

Last Updated March 18, 2021