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Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases


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Department of Homeland Security Funded Projects


Development of a Biosurveillance and Simulation Tool Interoperability Network (BASTION) for Infectious Disease

University of Washington

PI:  Neil Abernethy

07/01/2011 – 06/30/2016


Develop a knowledge model representing key concepts and risk factors relevant to modeling risk of infectious disease emergence. Develop an extensible environment to promote collaboration among modelers and scientists in CEEZAD, evaluate the ability of the system to recapture relevant risk factors in pilot risk models of major high-threat pathogens. Note: This project leverages other funding sources to support this work.


2015 Executive Summary:

The tools we have developed in earlier work have supported significant progress toward the first goal of identifying data/model dependencies. Specifically, we have a means to represent and annotate data sources that identify critical parameters in epidemic models. By storing this information in a consistent, centralized location, we are able to identify different model dependencies on this source data. At a lower level, by storing these parameters in a knowledge base (using an Oracle database back end), we can search known parameters across models, potentially informing datasets that have unusual leverage in the quality of model performance. Toward the second goal, we have received some suggestions about meeting content and participants from CEEZAD leadership and its External Advisory Board. We have also engaged with the International Society for Disease Surveillance (ISDS) to discuss the possibility of co-hosting a meeting, website resource, and/or webinar on this topic. We must still run a final meeting plan by associated CEEZAD investigators, other DHS stakeholders (including representatives of USDA modeling groups) and the PI. For the second objective, holding the meeting, we have identified a targeted set of thought leaders, stakeholders, other epidemic model sponsors/users, and disease surveillance practitioners who may be selected and invited to attend the meeting. We must still reach out to additional stakeholders identified by the CEEZAD. Subsequent to this, we will reach out to those potential attendees to identify possible dates for the upcoming meeting. Since the meeting has not yet taken place, Objective 3 (summarizing meeting findings) will clearly occur subsequent to the other objectives. In parallel to meeting preparations, we have continued to refine our prior work to expose epidemic model components electronically through a shared ontology as part of the planned BASTION web resource. (This website is currently functioning as an internal prototype, but will be made available for pilot testing by DHS/CEEZAD stakeholders and meeting participants ahead of the meeting). This resource will help “prime the pump” for the community of practice by providing connections to parameter sets, initial conditions, sensitivity analysis ranges, and surveillance data sources for several epidemic models of RVF, avian influenza, and FMD.