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Students Initiated into TB Epidemiological Modelling

TB CRE investigator Dr James Trauer introduces TB epidemiological modelling to an up-and-coming generation of clinicians.

Recently, Dr James Trauer, Dr Romain Ragonnet and Dr Bridget Williams from Monash University hosted two summer scholarly intensive medical students over the pre-Christmas period - Xuan Le and Xuan Ye!

Dr Trauer is the head of the Epidemiological Modelling Unit for the School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine at Monash, and has been pioneering efforts to estimate the potential impact of vaccines to prevent TB in high-burden settings.

While the WHO have called for the development of new TB vaccines with certain preferred characteristics, many questions remain as to what makes the most impactful TB vaccine. Questions include identifying the optimal population group to target - should the trial consider vaccination of adolescents as they enter their high-risk period? - should children be vaccinated before they reach this life stage? - or should the target be vulnerable groups, such as young children, the elderly and persons with other health conditions?

During their time as summer scholars, Xuan and Xuan completed a review of the evidence relevant to these questions and commenced running the computer simulations required to answer these questions. Xuan and Xuan (pictured above) were nominated as finalists for the best summer scholarly project and produced the following video as a reflection upon their time working with Dr Trauer on one of the most critical questions in TB vaccine development.

Xuan Le's Vietnamese heritage and both Xuan and Xuan's interest in computer simulations made for a fascinating period with them on the Unit. Dr Trauer's work in bringing TB to the spotlight for young clinicians is part of the TB CRE mandate to educate the next generation of TB researchers in Australia.

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