Director’s Welcome

Over the course of our lifetimes, we’ve seen a global rise in infectious disease, both zoonotic and human-specific. At the Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics (CCDD), we are focused on understanding why and how infectious disease persists and changes, and using that knowledge to lessen its burden on people.

I have focused on biological and mathematical approaches to infectious disease questions– mainly understanding how our immune systems, and how medical interventions such as antibiotics and vaccines exert natural selection on pathogens, and how the resulting changes in pathogen populations affect human disease. My current work focuses on antimicrobial resistance, epidemiological methods, mathematical modeling of infectious disease transmission, pathogen population genomics, immunoepidemiology of Streptococcus pneumonia, transmission-dynamic simulations, and ethical questions surrounding vaccine trials for infectious disease. My colleagues, Profs. Caroline Buckee and Bill Hanage, similarly focus on mechanisms that drive spread of infectious disease, and bacterial evolution and population genomics, respectively.

The work of CCDD has pioneered the use of mobile phone data to track human mobility and predict geographic patterns of disease transmission, modeling in support of responses to outbreaks and pandemics of influenza, Ebola, Zika, yellow fever, cholera and other infectious of global importance. Contributions to epidemiological methods including trial design, use of negative controls, and novel approaches to modeling pathogens with multiple strains. Our research has also worked to exploit population genomics and mathematical modeling to understand the progression of outbreaks and the impact of vaccination, antimicrobial use, and drug resistance on pathogen populations and human health.

At CCDD, we’re committed to advancing the understanding of infectious disease while simultaneously preparing the next generation of scientists. This includes increasing diversity in the fields of mathematical modeling and public health, through the annual Conference and other efforts to support students and scientists from underrepresented groups. We also provide financial support and scientific mentoring for about 12 postdoctoral researchers and 15 doctoral and masters students at any one time. We’re proud to have trained more than 100 of them, who add to our ever-growing network of collaborators at Harvard and at institutions across the globe.


Marc Lipsitch, Professor of Epidemiology, Department of Epidemiology, Department of Immunology and Infectious Disease
Director, Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

CCDD Team, Winter 2018: Prof. Caroline Buckee, front right, red coat; Prof. Marc Lipsitch, front right, grey sweater; Prof. Bill Hanage, back center