Research Topic

Applications of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) tools in microbiology of infectious diseases

About this Research Topic

Science, technology, engineering, and mathematical (STEM) tools and approaches are expected to become a critical component for the prevention, control, and eradication of animal diseases at a global scale in the near future. In the last decades the amount of information that is being generated in all ...

Science, technology, engineering, and mathematical (STEM) tools and approaches are expected to become a critical component for the prevention, control, and eradication of animal diseases at a global scale in the near future. In the last decades the amount of information that is being generated in all scientific disciplines, including microbiological studies applied to infectious diseases, has increased exponentially, becoming a problem in itself due to the lack of tools and expertise to analyze data. The formulation and parameterization of such a body of empirical knowledge combined with theoretical knowledge into mathematical models has the potential to 1) formalize the implications and limitations of such knowledge; 2) identify critical gaps in knowledge; and 3) provide decision-makers with cost-effective mechanisms to assess, in quantitative terms, the impact of alternative disease prevention and control measures in both Public and Animal Health. Specific STEM-tools with the potential to incorporate information from the microbiology field and that may provide an important service to the different actors implicated (scientists, decision-makers, doctors, producers, patients) include, for example, network analysis, quantitative risk assessment, mathematical modeling, phylogenetic analysis, and informatics technology applied to management and analysis of big data sets. Those are powerful tools for integrating data and with appropriate caution are helpful in evaluating therapeutic, preventive, control or eradication measures at the individual or population level, but must be developed in communication across all research disciplines, thus combining very varied backgrounds and expertise.
For this Research Topic, manuscripts describing approaches that combine data coming from the field of microbiology of infectious diseases (and that may include genetic, epidemiological or pathological information) with innovative analytical tools to help to understand the processes driving disease transmission and pathogen/host evolution, and to evaluate currently available tools to fight against diseases of importance in Public and Animal health are welcome. This research topic will provide an update of the current state-of-the-art scientific knowledge of the application of STEM tools to the microbiology of infectious diseases, raising awareness of their potential usefulness and various applications. Questions that may be addressed in these studies may include, but are not limited to, the following aspects:
• Evaluate directionality and source attribution for inter-species transmission of infectious pathogens
• Establishing the most likely cause of outbreaks using genetic information of causative agents.
• Assess temporal, spatial or spatio-temporal patterns of diseases of importance for the public or animal health fields
• Epidemiological modeling


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