Dr David Muscatello is a Senior Lecturer in infectious diseases epidemiology. He has a PhD in the epidemiology of influenza. He also has many years experience in government as an epidemiologist specialising in acute disease surveillance using administrative databases, public health intelligence and biostatistics including time series analysis. He played a major surveillance role in the New South Wales government response to pandemic influenza in 2009 and has served on the Australian National Influenza Surveillance Committee. David is also a graduate of the New South Wales Public Health Officer Training Program and has supervised and trained numerous Public Health Officer and Biostatistical trainees. He is particularly interested in the use of time series analysis for estimating mortality and morbidity from infectious and other diseases and for assessing the impact of health policies on populations.
I have projects available around estimating the impact of influenza on hospital emergency departments, and on the Australian population. I'm particularly interested in answering questions around methods for estimating the impact of infectious diseases on populations. I can assist with developing projects for other countries and settings, if the data are available.
I am able to help students develop projects that use administrative data or survey data to answer important public health, epidemiological and policy related questions. I am particularly interested in time series analysis, which is a statistical method that can be applied to numerous questions. Examples include estimating whether and how much the incidence of a particular disease is associated with a particular health outcome, when you can’t measure that outcome directly.
Influenza is a good example, numerous studies in numerous countries and numerous time periods have demonstrated that seasonal influenza is associated with marked increases in deaths in human populations. Causes of death recorded in civil death registration databases often do not identify a role of influenza. Time series analysis can be used to estimate the contribution of influenza to deaths.
There is a substantial amount of time series data available from national statistical agencies. I would work with you to see if we can develop a project that is suited to your skill level and areas of interest. If you have a connection with a particular country, we may be able to develop a research idea if there is data freely available from your country.
Which students would be suited to a project like this?
Ideally, you would have completed Advanced Biostatistics & Statistical Computing (PHCM9517). Otherwise, students with a background in science, mathematics or statistics, would be suitable. Of course it’s also important to have the enthusiasm to answer important public health questions, as the methods are just a means to an end.