Nicole Carnegie

Speaker: Nicole Bohme Carnegie, assistant professor, Department of Mathematical Sciences, Montana State University

Date: Wednesday, February 26, 2020
Time: 4:00 PM
Place: Procrastinator Theater, Strand Union Building
Title: Optimizing HIV Prevention Interventions Through Epidemic Modeling

The lecture will be followed by a reception.


Although the global incidence of HIV has declined over the past decade, this overall decline masks a shift in the epidemic profile. In fact, incidence remains stable or is climbing in specific sub-populations, including young, Black and/or Hispanic men who have sex with men (MSM) in the United States.

Several behavioral, biomedical and structural interventions have proven effective in preventing the spread or acquisition of HIV in various populations. It is clear, however, that no single intervention will be a silver bullet. For this reason, interest in combination prevention—combining effective interventions that target different sub-populations at risk of HIV infection—has grown. Despite this interest, it is not well understood how to optimally combine different approaches to prevent new infections.

In this lecture, Nicole Bohme Carnegie will present work using random, network-based mathematical models to simulate HIV epidemics and test proposed interventions. Epidemic modeling provides a virtual laboratory in which to test and compare combination prevention programs before implementing costly interventions. These models are most useful when they can account for the structure of the contact network underlying disease transmission. It is, after all, the structure of networks—the restrictions on who contacts whom and when those contacts occur—that shapes the diffusion of the pathogen across a population and the effectiveness of interventions.

Network-based models permit high levels of heterogeneity among agents along numerous dimensions, including demographics, risk behavior, uptake and adherence to interventions, and formation of relationships. This heterogeneity allows researchers to model differences among sub-populations, not only in terms of behavior and transmission, but also in terms of interventions. Further, researchers can explore differential uptake of interventions, adherence to those interventions and targeting of high-impact interventions by sub-population.

Modeling efforts like this one are integral to the development of guidelines from organizations like the World Health Organization (WHO) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on best practices in HIV treatment and prevention. Carnegie’s work in this area will help to realize the full potential of combination prevention in disrupting this pandemic by providing a low-cost platform for optimizing intervention design prior to implementing costly clinical trials.

About the Speaker

Nicole Bohme Carnegie is a biostatistician with over a decade of experience working in the HIV prevention arena. She completed her Ph.D. in Statistics at the University of Washington, with postdoctoral research position at New York University and the Harvard School of Public Health. Dr. Carnegie is currently an assistant professor of statistics in the Department of Mathematical Sciences at MSU. 

About the Series

Carnegie’s lecture is presented by the Kopriva Science Seminar Series, which is funded through an endowment created by Phil Kopriva, a 1957 microbiology graduate from MSU. Kopriva, who died in 2002, also created an endowment to fund the Kopriva Graduate Fellowship Program, which provides support and opportunities for graduate students in the College of Letters and Science, particularly in the biomedical sciences. The series features seminars by MSU graduate students, faculty members and guest speakers.