65 S. Sandusky St.
Delaware, OH 43015
David Markwardt, Associate Dean of the OWU Connection
Project Title: Modeling the Spread of HPV Through a Network
Mentor: Pamela Pyzza
Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a common sexually transmitted infection in both males and females, which usually shows no symptoms and can be transmitted through genital or oral sex. Among over one hundred strains of HPV, we focus on two high-risk strains that are responsible for a majority of cervical cancer cases leading to about 4,000 deaths in the United States per year. Using a dynamic agent-based network, the spread of HPV can be mathematically modeled and examined.
Our agent-based network consists of agents representing individuals with characteristics, such as age, biological sex, and sexual orientation, and links representing sexual connections formed based on the characteristics of the agents. Using a set of probabilistic rules, we can simulate the connections between individuals in the network. Once connections are established, HPV can spread based on the health status of the individuals. Since the network changes dynamically with respect to time, connections form and break, and older agents will age out of the network while new ones join. We can examine the propagation of HPV through the network, which can be used to investigate the properties of an endemic disease, like HPV, and effective vaccination campaigns against it.