Tell us about your current research
As a member of the Vaccine Impact Modelling Consortium, I work with Professor Mark Jit and Dr Kaja Abbas to assess the impact of measles vaccination in low- and middle-income settings. Our recent work reviewed the evidence updates of inputs in measles vaccine modelling, such as assumptions for case-fatality risk and social contact mixing, and evaluated to what extent these updates would change the vaccine impact estimates.
Building on the updated model, we are working with Megan Auzenbergs, another early career researcher at CMMID, to compare the disease burden averted and incremental doses needed for routine and campaign delivery strategies of measles vaccinations. In addition, combining the transmission model with economic evaluation, we have conducted a cost-effectiveness analysis of introducing an innovative and promising vaccine delivery technology – microarray patch – into future measles immunisation programmes.
How did you first become interested in infectious disease modelling?
I attended a course on infectious disease modelling during my Master's degree. The course demonstrated how modelling can be used as a platform to integrate available data and transmission mechanisms of infectious diseases, and as a tool to quantify the potential impact of health policies and facilitate communication between scientists and decision-makers. This interdisciplinary framework interested me and led me to further learning about infectious disease modelling.
Describe your career journey so far
I have been involved with health-related research throughout my career. My undergraduate degree was in Public Health and Psychology (minor) at National Taiwan University (NTU). The broad scope of the course structure in Public Health provided me with plenty of opportunities to explore various subjects, from pathology to economics. In the last summer of my undergraduate study, I undertook an internship at a statistical consulting company and investigated the factors which affect the survival of patients on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation.
I continued to study with an MSc Epidemiology at NTU and focused on the development of quantitative skills in epidemiological research. After my MSc, I worked as a research assistant as well as a project manager at NTU. In this role, I analysed the association of glycaemic control with the risk of tuberculosis (TB) in a cohort study based on the National Health Insurance Database and publicly funded health check-up records.
My PhD at Imperial College London focused on the epidemiology and control strategies for TB in Taiwan. Using mathematical modelling, I investigated the driving factors of the elder-dominant TB epidemic and evaluated the health and cost impacts of discontinuing BCG vaccination. With input from Taiwan Centers for Disease Control, I also modelled individual and combined strategies on the table for achieving TB elimination, including active screening, contact tracing, prophylactic treatment and diabetic control.
After completing my PhD, I worked on a global project with the ARVac consortium on estimating the impact of future vaccines on the burden of drug-resistant TB. In early 2020, I also participated in the Imperial College COVID-19 Response Team. I supported data collection for real-time modelling and carried out an analysis of the implications of health service disruptions on TB.
What are your goals for the future?
My current goals are to strengthen my analytical skills and accumulate experience in infectious diseases research, through my ongoing projects on measles vaccination. With a keen interest in vaccine modelling and health economics, I would like to seek further opportunities in research collaboration and skill development in these topics.
Recognising the importance of data quality and interpretation in research, I am also interested in further engagement with data collection. I hope to connect the experiences in data analysis and survey design, where bidirectional feedback can improve research outputs. Moreover, my long-term goal is to promote the application of scientific research and infectious disease modelling to decision-making for public health policies in Taiwan, as I believe this will lead to a sustainable and equitable impact.
What’s your favourite thing about working at LSHTM?
Since I joined LSHTM in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, I have worked remotely for most of my time at the School. However, this highlights the most important element of my experience at LSHTM – people! I appreciate all the support from colleagues and staff I encountered on video calls, in person, or through email. They are kind, professional, and passionate about their work.
Do you have any advice or tips for other early career researchers?
I would like to share what I also keep in mind to encourage myself.
(1) Talk to people from different disciplines and backgrounds. I have received much useful advice on issues related to research and well-being from people with diverse perspectives.
(2) Be open to opportunities for collaboration and personal development. One never knows how this opportunity can link to the next.
How can people get in contact with you?
- Vaccine Impact Modelling Consortium
- ARVac consortium
- Imperial College COVID-19 Response Team
- Measles evidence update paper
- Measles delivery strategy paper
- Glycaemic control and TB paper
- Taiwan TB paper - BCG vaccine
- Taiwan TB paper - elder-dominant pattern
- Future TB vaccine paper
- COVID-19 disruption on TB paper
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