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School of Mathematical Sciences

Celebrating our community this LGBTQIA+ History Month

The theme of this year's LGBTQIA+ History Month is Medicine - #UnderTheScope. We spoke to Rowan Morris, a PhD student and member of our LGBTQIA+ EDI subgroup about her research in health data, the subgroup's upcoming plans and the importance of celebrating LGBTQIA+ History Month. 


This year’s LGBTQIA+ History Month theme is ‘Medicine - #UnderTheScope’. Could you tell us how you use maths in your health data research?

My PhD project focuses on projecting outbreaks of mosquito-borne disease in Brazil. To do this, I am exploring ways to build flexible Bayesian models that account for environmental, ecological, spatial, and temporal effects whilst predicting well for long-term projection. Mosquitoes are a shared transmission vector across disease types, so I am also working on ways to model patterns of diseases like dengue fever and chikungunya jointly. I have general interests in factor analysis, spatial-temporal models and shrinkage priors. 

What do you hope to achieve with your research?

I hope to add something valuable to the wealth of infectious disease modelling literature for mosquito-borne diseases. Ours is a pertinent problem where the vast improvement in surveillance data for these diseases allows for these models to exist, and the age of climate crisis means we need better predictive models for climate-mediated diseases. 

Why do you think it is important to us to recognise and celebrate LGBTQIA+ History Month in the School of Mathematical Sciences?

We have a diverse, special community here at SMS, and everyone should feel that they can show up to their work and studies as themselves. We need to ensure that everyone feels seen, heard and valued. Part of doing that is honouring those who have paved the way to make LGBTQIA+ inclusion possible in all fields and walks of life. 

Does the LGBTQIA+ sub-group have any plans for this month and the rest of the academic year?

We are hosting a coffee morning this month and will continue to host social events (including marching in pride) throughout the year. 

Of course, we will all continue participating in academic events and working to create welcoming and inclusive environments, challenging any exclusionary behaviours. l



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