NISS/ASA Webinar on COVID-19 and the Role of Modeling

Tuesday, May 5, 2020 12-1:30 pm (ET)

[Please Note: This event has already occurred.  Go to the News Story to read about what happened and to access a recording and speaker slides.]

Register for this event here!

The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting all of us! The spread of the virus is far-reaching and the consequences from infections are devastating for some.

On March 16, researchers and leaders from the Allen Institute for AI, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI), Georgetown University’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology (CSET), Microsoft, and the National Library of Medicine (NLM) at the National Institutes of Health released the COVID-19 Open Research Dataset (CORD-19) of scholarly literature about COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, and the Coronavirus group. The dataset represents the most extensive machine-readable Coronavirus literature collection available for data and text mining to date, with over 29,000 articles, more than 13,000 of which have full text. The CORD-19 resource is available on the Allen Institute’s website and will continue to be updated as new research is published in archival services and peer-reviewed publications.

Statisticians have much to contribute to the fight against COVID-19. Our quantitative skills allow us to ascertain how the disease spreads, predict how much critical resources will be needed and where, estimate mortality rate, identify risk factors, and design trials that will be conducted to evaluate potential treatments and assess the preventive effect of potential vaccines. Statisticians need to join together and share knowledge we individually possess. This is a fight that all of us have a stake in.

In response to the pandemic, the ASA has established an online community, COVID-19 Data, Statistics, Research, and Discussion. The objective is to create a place for members to share their work, post resources, make new connections, and discuss questions related to COVID-19 research.

To facilitate knowledge sharing and encourage collaboration, ASA and NISS will host a series of virtual webinars on COVID-19. The inaugural event will feature three members of our profession who have been deeply involved with disease distribution models and treatment evaluation strategies. 

Register for this event here!

After you register, NISS will email you a link and reminders for the meet-up. The Meet-Up will use Zoom software and is free to the public.

Zoom users will be prompted to download and run a small Zoom meeting launcher.  (View a 53 sec video - "How to Join a Meeting"

Registered attendees are view-only participants.

Use the Question & Answer (Q&A) feature to ask questions during the meet-up.
Click on the Q&A icon at the bottom of the Zoom window, type in your question for the panelist and click ‘Enter’.

When a speaker is sharing his/her screen you can minimize the video displays of the other speakers by clicking on the dash button that appears on top of the panel showing all of the speakers.


The agenda for this webinar is as follows:

12:00 - 12:05     Opening Remarks:  Wendy Martinez, President, American Statistical Association

12:05 - 12:25     Nick Jewell, (UC Berkeley and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Imperial College, London) & Britta Jewell, (MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis at the Imperial College, London) 

"The Exponential Power of Now (and Yesterday?)"

12:25 - 12:45     Dean Follmann, (NIH/NIAID)

"Statistical Methods and Modeling In Response to COVID-19 at NIAID"

12:45 - 1:05     Marc Lipsitch, (Harvard University)

"Projecting the transmission dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 through the post-pandemic period: seasonality and modeling"

 1:05 -  1:30     Questions & Answers

About the Speakers

Dean Follmann is Chief of the Biostatistics Research Branch at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), a role he has held for the past 16 years.  He has authored or co-authored more than 250 peer-reviewed research articles and received numerous awards, including the Department of Health and Human Services Secretary’s Award for Distinguished Service, the Best Paper in Biometrics 2009, and is an elected Fellow of the American Statistical Association in 2003.  He serves on committees and advisory boards for the US Food and Drug Administration, the National Institutes of Health, and academic departments.  Current research interests focus on statistical methods related to vaccinology.

Britta Jewell is a research fellow in infectious disease epidemiology at the MRC Centre for Global Disease Analysis at Imperial College London. Her research primarily focuses on modeling HIV prevention interventions and reproductive health in sub-Saharan Africa. Prior to this, she worked on modeling the SEARCH study of universal test-and-treat for HIV at UC Berkeley and the Institute for Disease Modeling. She holds a PhD in infectious disease epidemiology from Imperial College London and an MSc in the history of science, technology, and medicine from the University of Oxford.

Nicholas P. Jewell is currently Chair of Biostatistics & Epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, after a long career at the University of California, Berkeley, where he still holds an appointment as Professor of the Graduate School. He works on the statistical design and analysis of studies regarding the spread and control of infectious diseases, in addition to other statistical issues associated with epidemiology and human rights. He is a member of the National Academy of Medicine, and a Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society, the American Statistical Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the International Statistical Institute, and the Institute for Mathematical Statistics. He is a member of the Corporation for NISS.

Marc Lipsitch is Professor of Epidemiology with a primary appointment in the Department of Epidemiology and a joint appointment in the Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases at Harvard University. He is the Director of the Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics, a center of excellence funded by the MIDAS program of NIH/NIGMS.   He is also the Associate Director of the Interdisciplinary Concentration in Infectious Disease Epidemiology.

Wendy Martinez has been the Director of the Mathematical Statistics Research Center at the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for seven years. Prior to this, she worked in several research positions throughout the Department of Defense. She held the position of Science and Technology Program Officer at the Office of Naval Research, where she established a research portfolio comprised of academia and industry performers developing data science products for the future Navy and Marine Corps. She is the lead author of three books on MATLAB and statistics. Dr. Martinez was elected as a Fellow of the American Statistical Association (ASA) in 2006 and is an elected member of the International Statistical Institute.  She was honored by the American Statistical Association when she received the ASA Founders Award at the JSM 2017 conference. Wendy is also proud and grateful to have been elected as the 2020 ASA President.

Event Type


National Institute of Statistical Sciences


National Institute of Statistical Sciences
American Statistical Association




Virtual Meet-up
United States
Moderator: Wendy Martinez (ASA) Speakers: (left to right) Dean Follman (NIH/NIAID), Britta Jewell (Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis), Nick Jewell (Imperial College) and Marc Lipsitch (Harvard).
National Institute of Statistical Sciences
American Statistical Association