The group researches what drives the growth and spread of infectious diseases globally.
The research group led by Joacim Rocklöv conducts epidemiological research with strong links to the environment, ecology, and climate change by applying modern calculation methods in mathematics, statistics and artificial intelligence.
The research sheds light on the growth of vectors, pathogens and diseases from a system perspective describe the impact of different driving forces by integrating large amounts of open data into computer-intensive models.
Some of the research also focuses on using knowledge from empirical studies from the field or lab, to also construct process-based dynamic models for epidemiological outcomes. These models include the estimations, for example, the R-number, which describes the proliferation potential of a pathogen, and as an example how the R-number changes due to the temperature fluctuations.
An important part of the research is to describe how the situation changes in terms of the propensity for infections to spread with accelerating climate changes, for example the indicators that the group develops for publication in the Lancet countdown each year. Much of the work also take into account how the climate change may impact on infectious diseases in the future by using different scenarios of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and consequently describing scenarios for future changes in distribution and infection potential of infectious diseases.
Another important part of the research is to conduct research on how climate information, such as weather forecasts, can be used to design strategies and manage expected outbreaks of infection at an earlier stage than what current monitoring systems can achieve. This also includes real-time scanning of social media and using mobility data from aircraft and mobile phones.
Research on covid-19
The research conducted in the group has also focused on the covid-19 pandemic, among other things by studying the R-number and how different strategies for management at local or national level have affected and may affect the number of cases of serious illness and death, also what effect can get from implementing vaccines in different ways in populations.
Joacim Rocklöv is an affiliated member of the Integrated science laboratory at Umeå university (Icelab), and several of the group members are active members in Icelab.
Research in Heidelberg
The lab is virtually connected with Joacim Rocklöv´s lab on artificial intelligence, climate change and infectious disease at the university of Heidelberg in Germany. The group is located within the Heidelberg institute of global health (HIGH) and the Interdisciplinary centre for scientific computing (IWR).