The Open University Statistics Group

presents a two-day conference on

Statistical Methods for Infectious Diseases

to be held on

Wednesday May 23rd - Thursday May 24th, 2012

at the Open University in Milton Keynes, United Kingdom.

From a global perspective, infectious diseases remain a leading cause of morbidity, mortality, loss of livelihoods and social and economic disruption. The last decade has witnessed the emergence of new infections, such as H1N1 swine influenza, and a continuing heavy toll from infections like TB and malaria, but also the introduction of new vaccines, for example against HPV, and progress towards the elimination of some infections, such as polio. Over this period, many new statistical methods, of varying complexity, have been developed to address these challenges.

Statistical Methods for Infectious Diseases, the 25th rather-more-frequent-than-annual (anniversary) Open University statistics conference, will focus on the statistical problems confronting epidemiologists, and the novel statistical methods that might be brought to bear on them. Thus, the conference is aimed at a broad spectrum of epidemiologists, statisticians and modellers working on the various aspects of infectious disease epidemiology.

The conference will include 18 invited talks and contributed posters on relevant topics. If you wish to present a poster, please complete the relevant section of the registration form. The cost of the conference is £95. This includes registration, refreshments and lunch for both days, and the conference dinner on day one.

The conference will start at 10.30 a.m. on May 23rd and end at 4.00 p.m. on May 24th. It will take place in the Berrill Lecture Theatre on the main Open University campus at Walton Hall, Milton Keynes.

We gratefully acknowledge financial support from the Royal Society, the Wolfson Foundation, the Medical Research Council and the Open University.

Organising committee (in alphabetical order): Paddy Farrington, Sara Griffin, Emma Howard, Angela Noufaily, and Steffen Unkel.

Confirmed invited speakers (in alphabetical order):

Abstracts for invited oral presentations and contributed posters can be found here.


Day 1 - Wednesday 23rd May

09.30 Registration desk opens
10.00 Coffee and pastries
10.30 Opening: Professor Tim Blackman, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Scholarship

10.45–12.30 Session 1: Keynote + Spatial modelling (Chair: Paddy Farrington)
10.45 Talk 1 (Keynote) - Mirjam Kretzschmar: Two sides of a coin: mathematical and statistical modeling of infectious diseases
11.30 Talk 2 - Azra Ghani: Spatial modeling of malaria control and elimination in Africa
12.00 Talk 3 - Karim Anaya-Izquierdo: Estimation of spatial spillover effects in cluster randomized trials

12.30–14.00 Lunch + posters

14.00–15.30 Session 2: Assessing interventions (Chair: Angela Noufaily)
14.00 Talk 4 - Michael Höhle:
Statistical Methods for Interpreting the Epidemic Curve of the STEC O104:H4 Outbreak in Germany, 2011
14.30 Talk 5 - Kate Soldan: Early evaluation of the impact of the HPV vaccination programme in England
15.00 Talk 6 - Nick Andrews: Using the indirect cohort (Broome) method to estimate vaccine effectiveness in the presence of serotype replacement

15.30–16.00 Tea and biscuits + posters

16.00–17.30 Session 3: Estimating incidence and susceptibility (Chair: Steffen Unkel)
16.00 Talk 7 - Anne Presanis: Evidence synthesis for infectious diseases
16.30 Talk 8 - Piero Manfredi: Hope-Simpson's progressive immunity hypothesis finally explains Zoster data well
17.00 Talk 9 - Nele Goeyvaerts: Multivariate decay models for longitudinal censored maternal antibody levels

19.00 Reception followed by conference dinner at the Mercure Parkside hotel.

Day 2 - Thursday 24th May

09.00–10.30 Session 4: Statistical seroepidemiology (Chair: Angela Noufaily)
09.00 Talk 10 - Simon Cauchemez: Influenza, measurement errors and the interpretation of paired serology
09.30 Talk 11 - Steffen Unkel: Time-varying frailty models and the estimation of heterogeneities in transmission of infectious diseases
10.00 Talk 12 - Niel Hens: Estimating infectious disease parameters in a time-heterogeneous setting: hepatitis A in Flanders, Belgium

10.30–11.00 Coffee and biscuits + posters

11.00–12.45 Session 5: Keynote + Transmission and networks (Chair: Steffen Unkel)
11.00 Talk 13 (Keynote) - Philip O'Neill: Recent developments in Bayesian inference for infectious disease models
11.45 Talk 14 - Tim Peto: Clostridium Difficile transmission in Oxfordshire: comparison between network analyses and MCMC modelling approaches.
12.15 Talk 15 - Valerie Isham: The effect of population structure on transmission of infection

12.45–14.15 Lunch + posters

14.15–15.45 Session 6: Modelling epidemics (Chair: Paddy Farrington)
14.15 Talk 16 - Gavin Gibson: Epidemic models with non-standard infection processes
14.45 Talk 17 - Andrea Mann: Modeling influenza incidence data using multivariate hidden Markov models
15.15 Talk 18 - Jacco Wallinga: Searching for variables that explain the variability in transmission intensity of influenza

15.45 Conference wrap-up (Paddy Farrington)

16.00 End + tea and biscuits

Registration and further information

For more information, please contact Ms. Sara Griffin, e-mail:

This webpage is maintained by Steffen Unkel. It was last updated on May 11th, 2012.