340.609.01 | AY 2013-2014 - 3rd Term | 3 Credit(s)
TTh 3:30:00 PM
  • Contact Information
    William Moss
    Derek Cummings
    Justin Lessler
  • Course Learning Objectives

    Upon successfully completing this course, students will be able to:

    • identify concepts and methods unique to the epidemiology of infectious diseases
    • link appropriate methods with fundamental research questions in infectious disease epidemiology
    • interpret analyses of key concepts in infectious disease epidemiology, including spatiotemporal transmission patterns, seasonality and the impact of selective pressures on pathogen dynamics
    • critically evaluate different approaches to the measurement of key variables in infectious disease epidemiology
    • Discuss methods and techniques to address challenges unique to infectious disease epidemiology, including network analysis, methods for determining contact rates and the heterogeneity of host responses to pathogen exposure
  • Course Description
    Develops deeper understanding of the concepts and quantitative methods unique to infectious disease epidemiology, building upon the concepts and methods of general epidemiology and knowledge of specific infectious diseases. Topics include disease emergence, transmissibility and the basic reproductive number, transmission patterns and serial intervals, seasonality, virulence, the impact of heterogeneity host and pathogens on transmission, herd immunity, co-infections and phylodynamics.

    Additional Faculty Notes:

    This course will develop a deeper understanding of concepts and methods unique to infectious disease epidemiology, building upon principles of general epidemiology and knowledge of specific infectious diseases. Transmission to neighbors results in a violation of the independence of events that is at the foundation of many classic statistical and epidemiological methods. Ronald Ross referred to the study of transmission as the study of ‘dependent happenings’.

    The structure of the course will consist of eight didactic sessions followed by an in-class exercise that will allow students to apply their knowledge and skills to a real-life example. We will explore eight concepts that address unique aspects of the study of infectious diseases and the nature of dependent happenings, including: 1) the natural history of infectious diseases, where the timing of events is linked among individuals in a transmission chain; 2) the basic concepts and tools of molecular epidemiology, in which the genetic signature of pathogens can be used to identify transmission pathways; 3) phylogenetics and phylodynamics, which build upon the basics of molecular epidemiology but specifically links pathogen evolution and transmission pathways; 4) the basic concepts and methods of network theory, the formal study of contact patterns; 5) uses of serological data in infectious disease epidemiology and the application of serological data to the understanding of transmission; 6) techniques of population survey design to understand transmission dynamics; 7) cluster randomized trials, a type of study design used to assess the indirect protective effects of interventions targeting infectious disease; and 8) the use of host genetic information to identify differences in population susceptibility to disease. 

  • Intended Audience
    Students in Inf. Dis. Epid, Global Dis. Epid & Control and in the Infectious Disease Concentration of the MPH program who are interested in further developing an understanding of the concepts and methods used in infectious disease epidemiology.
  • Methods of Assessment
    Class participation and a written and oral critique of an assigned paper.

    Additional Faculty Notes:

    Class participation, class exercises and one in class exam.

    Each class exercise will contribute 10% to the final grade (total 70%) and the exam will contribute 30% to the final grade.

    Students may receive a letter grade or receive a pass/fail grade.

  • Prerequisites
    340.752 and 340.627 Epi of Infectious Diseases

    Additional Faculty Notes:

    Epidemiological Methods 2 (340.752) 

    Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases (340.627)

    Statistical Methods in Public Health II (140.622) or higher level biostatistics course

  • Required Text(s)

    Additional Faculty Notes:

    No textbook is required for this course. Students may find the following textbooks useful to further explore material covered in this course:

    Halloran ME, Longini, IM, Struchiner CJ. Design and Analysis of Vaccine Studies. 2010. Springer.

    Hayes RJ, Moulton LH.  Cluster Randomized Trials. 2009. CRC Press.

  • Course Schedule

    Please see the course Session for a full list of dates and items for this course.

  • Academic Ethics Code

    Students enrolled in the Bloomberg School of Public Health of The Johns Hopkins University assume an obligation to conduct themselves in a manner appropriate to the University's mission as an institution of higher education. A student is obligated to refrain from acts which he or she knows, or under the circumstances has reason to know, impair the academic integrity of the University. Violations of academic integrity include, but are not limited to: cheating; plagiarism; knowingly furnishing false information to any agent of the University for inclusion in the academic record; violation of the rights and welfare of animal or human subjects in research; and misconduct as a member of either School or University committees or recognized groups or organizations.

  • Welcome Message

    Dear Students,

    Welcome to Concepts and Methods in Infectious Disease Epidemiology!  We hope to introduce you to methodologic approaches unique to the study of communicable diseases based on "dependent happenings", a term introduced by Sir Ronald Ross.

    We hope you enjoy this new course offering.

    Derek, Justin and Bill

  • Course topics

    Dependent Happenings and the Natural History of Infectious Diseases

    Molecular Epidemiology

    Phylogenetics and Phylodynamics

    Network Theory: Terms and Metrics

    Serology and Infectious Disease Epidemiology

    Population Survey Design

    Introduction to the Design of Cluster Randomized Trials

    Host Genetics and the Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases

  • Disability Support Services
    If you are a student with a documented disability who requires an academic accommodation, please contact the Office of Student Life Services at 410-955-3034 or via email at