"My interest in COVID-19 research led me to shift my undergraduate path, aligning it more closely with the work of the BC COVID Modelling Group."

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Shabnam Molan

January 17, 2024

Applied and Computational Mathematics master's student in the Faculty of Science

Tell us a little about yourself, including what inspires you to learn and continue in your chosen field

I began my journey in the field of infectious disease modelling during the pandemic, working as a research assistant at a hospital, focusing on COVID-19. This experience profoundly impacted my career path, as I found immense satisfaction in contributing to a global crisis solution. My interest in COVID-19 research led me to shift my undergraduate path, aligning it more closely with the work of the BC COVID Modelling Group.

Why did you choose to come to SFU?

My decision to join SFU was significantly influenced by the university's faculty involvement in the BC COVID Modelling Group. I was particularly drawn to the Magpie Group at SFU, which aligned perfectly with my academic goals and interests in pandemic research.

How would you describe your research or your program to a family member?

My current research aims to provide a clearer understanding of how COVID-19 outbreaks might unfold in the future. By employing machine learning techniques on a wide array of global data, we're not just looking at numbers of cases; we're considering factors like population demographics, healthcare systems, and even people's movement patterns. This holistic approach allows us to predict potential future scenarios more accurately. Such predictions are vital for better planning and response, especially in areas where resources are limited or where the virus could have a more significant impact than previously anticipated.

What three (3) keywords would you use to describe your research?

Infectious Disease Modelling, Statistical Modelling, Pandemic Preparedness

How have your courses, RA-ships, TA-ships, or non-academic school experiences contributed to your academic and/or professional development?

My courses provided foundational and advanced knowledge in statistics and epidemiology, critical for understanding and modelling infectious diseases. The RA-ship allowed me to apply these concepts in real-world research, enhancing my analytical and problem-solving skills. The TA-ship developed my communication skills, as explaining complex concepts to students clarified my own understanding and improved my ability to present data. Lastly, experiences like conferences expanded my network and exposed me to diverse perspectives, enriching my research approach and fostering collaborations that are crucial in the scientific community.

Have you been the recipient of any major or donor-funded awards? If so, please tell us which ones and a little about how the awards have impacted your studies and/or research

Receiving the CIHR CGS-M Award at the start of my MSc at SFU has been a significant milestone. This prestigious award not only provided financial support, allowing me to focus more on my research without the burden of financial constraints, but it also recognized the potential impact of my work in infectious disease modelling. This recognition boosted my confidence and credibility in the field, enabling me to engage more deeply with my research on COVID-19 wave dynamics and contributing to my growth as a researcher in this critical area of public health.


Contact Shabnam:shabnam_molan@sfu.ca

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