Applied mathematician, Adeshina Adekunle, joined AITHM in 2017 to develop infectious disease models that can estimate the extent and spread of disease outbreaks, from influenza to Ebola virus.

Adeshina, a post-doctoral research fellow and infectious diseases modeller, is funded by a Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Tropical Partners research grant. He is currently working with colleagues to create a Global Pandemic Map website to monitor external disease threats.

Closer to home, he is developing a model to calculate the spread of Wolbachia-infected Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, currently a key tool in efforts to prevent the dengue-carrying species from reproducing.

Adeshina is also involved in research to help differentiate treated tuberculosis patients who subsequently suffer a relapse, from those who have been re-infected, and whether prior infection creates greater immunity.

Born and raised in Nigeria, Adeshina obtained a Bachelor of Technology in Industrial Mathematics (1st Class Honours), followed by a Masters degree, from the Federal University of Technology, in Akure, before moving to Australia in 2013 to embark on a PhD in Mathematical Biology at the University of New South Wales.

His PhD study explored the dynamics of malarial infection using mathematical modelling; identifying and calculating factors that influenced infection resistance in two patient cohorts – one in Mali, where the malaria strain, Plasmodium falciparum, is common, and the other in Thailand and Papua New Guineas, where the Plasmodium vivax strain is common.

Adeshina found the incidence of Plasmodium falciparum-related infection and onset of clinical symptoms decreased with age, and that patients infected with the parasite before the malaria season (during and immediately after the wet season) were less likely to develop clinical malaria. He also calculated that some 90-95 percent of malaria cases in regions afflicted by Plasmodium vivax were caused by reactivation of hypnozoites – a dormant form of the parasite in the human body.

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