Abba B. Gumel

Professor & The Michael and Eugenia Brin Endowed E-Nnovate Chair in Mathematics

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Biodata

I am a Professor of Mathematics (and The Michael and Eugenia Brin Endowed E-Nnovate Chair in Mathematics) at the Department of Mathematics, University of Maryland, College Park. My research work focuses on using mathematical approaches (modeling, rigorous analysis, and data analytics) to gain insight and provide understanding on the transmission dynamics of emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases of public health significance. Specifically, I design, analyze, parameterize, and simulate novel models for the transmission dynamics and control of emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases. My research also involves the qualitative theory of nonlinear dynamical systems arising in the mathematical modeling of phenomena in population biology (ecology, epidemiology, immunology etc.) and computational mathematics (with emphasis on the design of robust numerical methods that give results that are dynamically-consistent with the governing continuous-time model being discretized). The ultimate objective of my research work, in addition to the development of advanced (and perhaps novel) mathematical theory and methodologies for studying nonlinear dynamical systems arising in population biology, is to contribute to the development of effective public health policy for controlling and mitigating the burden of emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases.


Research

I am a mathematical biologist, who specialize in designing, rigorously analyzing and parameterizing novel mathematical models for gaining insight and understanding on the transmission dynamics and control of emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases of public health significance. My team and I have addressed research questions pertaining to the mathematics of the ecology, epidemiology and immunology of some infectious diseases of humans and other animals. We are currently focused on the following research questions and/or projects:

  • What is the impact of anthropogenic climate and environmental changes on the global burden and distribution of vector-borne diseases, such as malaria, dengue fever, Zika and West Nile virus?
  • Is there a connection between insecticide resistance and malaria epidemiology? This entails designing a novel genomic-epidemiology framework for malaria transmission dynamics in a population, where the malaria vector (Anopheles mosquitoes) are stratified according to genotype.
  • What is the impact of land use changes and human mobility on the global burden and distribution of infectious diseases?
  • Mathematics of the One Health Initiative … where public health is viewed holistically within the human-animal-environment nexus. This is critical in using mathematical approaches to predict the likelihood, and effective control and mitigation, of major disease outbreaks and pandemics.
  • Assessment of nonpharmaceutical and pharmaceutical control and mitigation strategies against human and other animal diseases of major public health significance.

The mathematical models we design are often of the form of deterministic systems of nonlinear differential equations (ordinary, partial or functional). We use or develop dynamical systems theories and methodologies for studying the qualitative dynamics of these models, aimed at determining, in parameter space, conditions for the persistence or effective control of the diseases being modeled. Specifically, we are interested in proving theorems for the existence and asymptotic stability of the steady-state solutions of the models, and in characterizing the associated bifurcation types. Statistics play a major role in our research work. We specifically use optimization and inverse problem approaches to fit models to data, estimate unknown parameters (needed for model validation and cross-validation), make predictions and carry out global uncertainty and sensitivity analysis for the parameters of the models. Our work also involves some computational component. The nonlinearity and large dimensionality of the models we often deal with necessitate the use of robust numerical discretization approaches to find approximations of their solutions. We are specifically interested in designing numerical methods that are dynamical-consistent (i.e., preserve the essential physical properties) of the governing continuous-time models being discretized.


Awards & Honors

  • Fellow of Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM), Class of 2022
  • Winner of 2021 Bellman Prize (with former graduate student, Dr. K. Okuneye): this biennial award is given to the author(s) of a paper published in the journal Mathematical Bioscience that has made outstanding contribution to the research field over the last five years.
  • Selected to give the 2021 Einstein Public Lecture in Mathematics by the American Mathematical Society. The Einstein lecture series was started by the American Mathematical Society in 2005 to mark the centennial anniversary of Einstein's Miracle Year (1905) when he published those four papers that revolutionized modern Physics and changed the world. Each year, the American Mathematical Society selects a distinguished mathematician to give the Einstein lecture during one of its sectional meetings.
  • Fellow of African Scientific Institute (www.asi-org.net) (May 2020).
  • Founding Fellow of ASU-Santa Fe Institute Center for Biosocial Complex Adaptive Systems (January 2015).
  • Appointed Extraordinary Professor, Department of Mathematics and Applied Mathematics, University of Pretoria, South Africa (2014-2021).
  • Merit Award for research excellence in 2011, given by the University of Manitoba and the University of Manitoba Faculty Association (given in May 2012). Eight awards are given each year, under the research category, throughout the campus.
  • Merit Award for research excellence in 2010, given by the University of Manitoba and the University of Manitoba Faculty Association (given in June 2011).
  • Elected Fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Science (FAS): 2010.
  • Elected Fellow of the African Academy of Sciences (FAAS): 2009.
  • Winner of the 2009 Lindsay E. Nicolle Award for the best paper published in the Canadian Journal of Infectious Diseases and Medical Microbiology. June 2009, Toronto, Canada. (The award, given annually, is for an author who has made a significant contribution to infectious diseases and medical microbiology, as demonstrated by the impact of their original research published in the journal).
  • Merit Award for research excellence in 2008, given by the University of Manitoba and the University of Manitoba Faculty Association (given in June 2009).
  • University of Manitoba award for Outstanding Outreach, December 2008. One award is given each year.
  • Merit Award for research excellence in 2007, given by the University of Manitoba and the University of Manitoba Faculty Association(given in June 2008).
  • Rh. Award for outstanding contributions to interdisciplinary scholarship and research, 2004. This is the highest research award given to junior faculty at the University of Manitoba.
  • Young African Mathematician Medal (Applied Mathematics), given by the African Mathematical Union (International Conference of Mathematical Sciences, University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Nigeria, November 2003). This award is given to an African mathematician, under the age of 40, for research contribution and potential.
  • Manitoba Science and Technology Certificate of Achievement, 2003.
  • Listed as one of the greatest mathematicians of the 1990s on the database of the Mathematicians of the African Diaspora (http://www.math.buffalo.edu/mad/madgreatest.html).