Student Profile: Jessica Penfold

Jessica Penfold 

The University of Adelaide

Biography

Jessica was born in England and arrived in Australia in 2004. She has had an interest in science and mathematics from a young age and has just completed her third and final year of a Bachelor of Mathematical Sciences (Advanced) at the University of Adelaide, with plans to study a Master’s degree next year.

She has a particular interest in Applied mathematics, especially in cellular automata and epidemic modelling. During the first half of 2016 she completed an exchange to Uppsala University in Sweden where she studied the modelling of complex and biological systems.

Determining the link between influenza dynamics and climatic factors in Australia

Using mathematical models of influenza coupled with data from the Australian Sentinel Practices Research Network (ASPREN) and SA Health we will predict future patterns of influenza. We will explore the link between influenza patterns and climate, including factors such as absolute and relative humidity, temperature and average rainfall over the influenza season. We will use Convergent Cross Mapping techniques to identify the most important climate factor or combination of climate factors which drive influenza dynamics. We will apply this to different Australian climates and compare the results to determine how the overall climate may affect the spread and severity of a future flu season.

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