Seminar - Trevor Ruiz

Event Date: 

Wednesday, October 21, 2020 - 3:30pm to 4:30pm

Event Location: 

  • Zoom Meeting

Title: A general framework for spatio-temporal modeling of epidemics with multiple epicenters: application to an aerially dispersed plant pathogen.


The spread dynamics of long-distance-dispersed pathogens are influenced by the dispersal characteristics of a pathogen, anisotropy due to multiple factors, and the presence of multiple sources of inoculum. In this research, we developed a flexible class of spatio-temporal models that can account for the presence of multiple sources and anisotropy of biological species that can govern disease gradients and spatial spread in time. We use the cucurbit downy mildew pathosystem (caused by Pseudoperonospora cubensis) to formulate a data-driven procedure based on 2008 to 2010 historical occurrence of the disease in the U.S. available from standardized sentinel plots deployed as part of the Cucurbit Downy Mildew ipmPIPE program. This pathosystem is characterized by annual recolonization and extinction cycles, generating annual invasions at the continental scale. The data-driven procedure is amenable to fitting models of disease spread from one or multiple sources of primary inoculum and can be specified to provide estimates of the parameters by regression methods conditional on a function that can accommodate anisotropy in disease occurrence data. Applying this modeling framework to the cucurbit downy mildew data sets, we found a small but consistent reduction in temporal prediction errors by incorporating anisotropy in disease spread. Further, we did not find evidence of an annually occurring, alternative source of P. cubensis in northern latitudes. However, we found signal indicating an alternative inoculum source on the western edge of the Gulf of Mexico. This modeling framework is tractable for estimating the generalized location and velocity of a disease front from sparsely sampled data with minimal data acquisition costs. These attributes make this framework applicable and useful for a broad range of ecological data sets where multiple sources of disease, or other organisms, may exist and whose subsequent spread is directional.
I’m a statistician. I recently completed my PhD at Oregon State University. I’m interested in high-dimensional time series, applications of statistics in the sciences, and teaching.
Trevor Ruiz