Research Interest Area: Infectious Disease Epidemiology

Germs growing on an agar plate in laboratory

Infectious disease epidemiology aims to improve health globally by assessing and quantifying the impact of infection of viral, bacterial, parasitic and fungal organisms and the use of control, treatment and prevention interventions to manage, eliminate and eradicate these diseases.


Infectious diseases have increasing importance in our current era of climate change and global commerce.

Students with the following topic interests are encouraged to explore this research interest area:

  • microbiology, immunology, vaccinology, entomology, ecology
  • statistical modeling
  • global health
  • behavioral, environmental health
  • pharmacoepidemiology including antimicrobial resistance
  • clinical trials


 Featured Courses

  • EPID:6550 Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases
  • EPID:5570 Zoonotic Diseases
  • EPID:6570 Infectious Causes of Chronic Diseases
  • EPID:5550 Diagnostic Microbiology for Epidemiology

Learning Objectives

Students interested in infectious disease epidemiology are preparing for a career in which they will:

  • Advance methods for infectious disease surveillance and be able to assess the method’s ability to detect infectious disease at different disease stages and source samples.
  • Apply basic techniques of microbiology and immunology as well as social and behavioral health to understand the risk factors behind of infectious disease transmission within populations.
  • Contribute to optimizing modeling and prediction of disease transmission by understanding the unique nature of different microbes in varied hosts.
  • Inform clinical and healthcare practice and policy though infectious disease surveillance and study of possible interventions, including behavioral change, vaccination, pharmaceutical therapy and/or education.
  • Collaborate and lead multidisciplinary teams to design and conduct observational and interventional research

Infectious Disease Research Interest Area Electives

Recommended Plan of Study for PhD Students Pursuing the Infectious Disease Epidemiology Research Interest Area

course #Course Name S.H. Semester(s) offered* 
Students interested in infectious disease epidemiology will take the following course:  
EPID:6550  Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases 3 s.h. Fall 
Depending on the student’s research interests and professional and career goals within Infectious Disease Epidemiology, they will choose 1 course from either group below. Note: if students take more than 1 class from the groups below, the additional coursework can be counted toward the electives to complete the interest area elective requirement.  
Infectious Agents, Microbiology, and Diagnostic Evaluation 
EPID:5550  Diagnostic Microbiology for Epidemiology** 3 s.h. Spring (online)*** 
EPID:6570  Infectious Causes of Chronic Disease** 3 s.h. Spring even years 
Ecology and Epidemiology of Zoonotic Diseases 
EPID:5570 Zoonotic Diseases** 3 s.h. Summer 
MICR:6247  Graduate Immunology and Human Disease 4 s.h. Fall 
In addition, students will choose at least 17 s.h. from the following recommended courses. Students should select courses in consultation with their advisor to reflect their research interest area (e.g. microbiology, immunology, vaccinology, entomology, ecology, behavioral health, pharmacoepidemiology, or clinical trials): 
EPID:6560  Hospital Epidemiology** 2 s.h. Spring odd years 
EPID:6900  Design of Intervention and Clinical Trials** 3 s.h. Fall 
GEOG:4150  Environment and Health: GIS Applications 3 s.h. Fall 
MICR:6267  Graduate Viruses and Human Disease 4 s.h. Fall 
MICR:6247  Graduate Immunology and Human Disease 4 s.h. Fall 
MICR:6259  Graduate Bacteria and Human Disease 3 s.h. Spring 
EPID:6071 Social Epidemiology 3 s.h. Fall 
EPID:6920  Applied Administrative Data Analysis 2 s.h. Fall 
EPID:6910  Pharmacoepidemiology and Comparative Effectiveness Research 3 s.h. Fall even years 
STAT:6560  Applied Time Series Analysis 3 s.h. Spring 
*Semester(s) offered subject to change due to enrollment, instructor availability, etc. Students should always check the course schedule at for the most up to date version of the course schedule.  
**Students are strongly encouraged to take these courses.   
***Courses offered online in the College of Public Health are assessed at a significantly higher tuition rate than courses offered in-person in CPH. Students need to be aware that a RA/TA tuition scholarship will only cover the base tuition rate and not the additional online course fee.  
In addition to the recommended courses listed above, it’s strongly recommended that students work as a research assistant for an infectious diseases study. 


Faculty members primarily working in this area

Collaborating faculty

  • Wade Aldous, Iowa Department of Public Health, State Hygienic Laboratory
  • Kelly Baker, Department of Occupational and Environmental Health
  • Maggie Carrel, Department of Geography, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
  • Martha Carvour, Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine – Infectious Diseases
  • Loreen Herwaldt, Department of Internal Medicine, Carver College of Medicine
  • Jesse Hostetter, University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine, VPATH
  • Andrew Kitchen, Department of Anthropology, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
  • Jeff Meier, Department of Internal Medicine, Carver College of Medicine
  • Eli Perencevich, Department of Internal Medicine, Carver College of Medicine; Comprehensive Access & Delivery Research & Evaluation (CADRE), Iowa City VA Health Care System
  • Mary Wilson, Department of Internal Medicine, Carver College of Medicine; and Microbiology