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Lauren Ancel Meyers

Professor, Core Faculty, Oden Institute
Department of Integrative Biology, Oden Institute

Denton A. Cooley Centennial Professorship in Zoology (Holder)


Phone: 512-471-4950

Office Location

Postal Address
AUSTIN, TX 78712

B.A., Harvard University (1991-1996)
Ph.D., Stanford University (1996-2000)
NSF Postdoctoral Fellow, Emory University and Santa Fe Institute (2000-2002)

Research Summary:

I am a Professor of Integrative Biology at The University of Texas at Austin, and a member of the External Faculty and Scientific Advisory Board of the Santa Fe Institute. I was trained as a mathematical biologist at Harvard and Stanford Universities, and my research foci include network epidemiology, optimization of infectious disease surveillance and control, and translational tools for public health.

I have trained numerous graduate students and postdocs that have gone onto successful careers in academia and industry, and lead an interdisciplinary team of scientists, engineers, social scientists and public health professionals in uncovering the sociological and biological drivers of influenza and Ebola transmission, improving disease control policies for influenza and HIV, redesigning disease surveillance systems to harness next-generation data, and creating decision-support software for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Association of Public Health Labs (APHL), Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) and Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS).

Our research has been published in over 60 peer-reviewed publications and funded by research grants from National Institutes of Health, CDC, National Science Foundation, APHL, Texas DSHS, Canadian Institute of Health Research, and James S. McDonnell Foundation. The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, the BBC, and other news sources have highlighted this work; and I have provided scientific expertise for government agencies, including the CDC, Institute of Medicine (IOM), Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), and US National Intelligence Council. In 2004, I was named by the MIT Technology Review as one of the top 100 global innovators under age 35.



Bellan, S.E., J.R.C. Pulliam, J. Dushoff, and L.A. Meyers (2014) Letter: Ebola virus vaccine trials: the ethical mandate for a therapeutic safety net. British Medical Journal 349:g7518. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.g7518

Bellan, S.E., J.R.C. Pulliam, J. Dushoff, and L.A. Meyers (2014) Correspondence: Ebola control: effect of asymptomatic infection and acquired immunity. The Lancet 385: 1499-1500. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(14)61839-0

Scarpino, S.V., A. Lamarino, C. Wells, D. Yamin, M. Ndeffo-Mbah, N.S. Wenzel, S.J. Fox, T. Nyenswah, F.L. Altice, A.P. Galvani, L.A. Meyers, J.P. Townsend (2014) Epidemiological and viral genomic sequence analysis of the 2014 Ebola outbreak reveals clustered transmission. Clinical Infectious Diseases. doi: 10.1093/cid/ciu1131.

Lofgren et al. [19th of 20 authors] (2014) Opinion: Mathematical models: A key tool for outbreak response. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 11: 18095-18096. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1421551111

Scarpino, S.V., D.A. Levin and L.A. Meyers (2014) Polyploid formation shapes flowering plant diversity. The American Naturalist 184: 456-465.

Fitzpatrick M.C., K. Hampson, S. Cleaveland, I. Mzimbiri, F. Lankester, T. Lembo, L.A. Meyers, A.D. Paltiel and A.P. Galvani (2014) Cost-effectiveness of canine vaccination to prevent human rabies in rural Tanzania. Ann Intern Med. 160 (2) :91-100. PMID: 24592494

Rushmore, J., D. Caillaud, R. Hall, R. Stumpf, L.A. Meyers, and S. Altizer (2014) Network-based vaccination improves prospects for disease control in wild chimpanzees. Journal of the Royal Society Interface 11: 20140349.

Gilbert, J.A., L.A. Meyers, A.P. Galvani and J.P. Townsend (2014) Probabilistic uncertainty analysis of epidemiological modeling to guide public health intervention policy. Epidemics 6:37-45. Epub 2013 Nov 19. PMID: 24593920.


Caillaud, D., M.E. Craft and L.A. Meyers (2013) Epidemiological effects of group size variation in social species. Journal of the Royal Society Interface 10: 20130206.

Ndeffo Mbah, M.L., J. Medlock, L.A. Meyers, A.P. Galvani, A.P., J.P. Townsend (2013) Optimal targeting of seasonal influenza vaccination toward younger ages is robust to parameter uncertainty. Vaccine 30: 3079-89. PMID: 23684837

Ndeffo Mbah, M.L., E.F. Kjetland, K.E. Atkins, E.M. Poolman, E.W. Orenstein, L.A. Meyers, J.P. Townsend, A.P. Galvani (2013) Cost-effectiveness of a community-based intervention for reducing the transmission of Schistosoma haematobium and HIV in Africa. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 19: 7952-7. PMID: 23589884.

Ndeffo Mbah ML, Poolman EM, Atkins KE, Orenstein EW, Meyers LA, Townsend JP and Galvani AP (2013) Potential Cost-Effectiveness of Schistosomiasis Treatment for Reducing HIV Transmission in Africa - The Case of Zimbabwean Women. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 8:e2346. PMID: 23936578

Durham, D.P., M.L. Ndeffo Mbah, J. Medlock, P.M. Luz, L.A. Meyers, A.D. Paltiel, A.P. Galvani, A.P. (2013) Dengue dynamics and vaccine cost-effectiveness in Brazil. Vaccine 37: 3957-61. PMID: 23791696.


Scarpino, S.V., N.B. Dimitrov, L.A. Meyers (2012) Optimizing Provider Recruitment for Influenza Surveillance Networks. PLoS Computational Biology 8: e1002472.

Bansal, S. and L.A. Meyers (2012) The impact of past epidemics on future disease dynamics. Journal of Theoretical Biology 309: 176-184.

Hladish, T.J., E. Melamud, L.A. Barrera, A. Galvani, L.A. Meyers (2012) EpiFire: An open source C++ library and application for contact network epidemiology. BMC Bioinformatics 13: 76.

Fitzpatrick M.C., K. Hampson, S. Cleaveland, L.A. Meyers, J.P. Townsend, A.P. Galvani (2012) Potential for Rabies Control through Dog Vaccination in Wildlife-Abundant Communities of Tanzania. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases 6(8): e1796.

Araz, O.M., P. Damien, D.A. Paltiel, S. Burke, B. van de Geijn, A. Galvani, L.A. Meyers (2012) Simulating school closure policies for cost effective pandemic decision making. BMC Public Health 12: 449.

Davoudi, B. J.C. Miller, R. Meza, L.A. Meyers, D.J.D. Earn, B. Pourbohloul (2012) Early Real-Time Estimation of the Basic Reproduction Number of Emerging Infectious Diseases. Physial Review X 2: 031005.

Azar, O.M., A. Galvani, L.A. Meyers (2012) Geographic prioritization of distributing pandemic influenza vaccines. Health Care Management Science DOI 10.1007/s10729-012-9199-6.

Benavides, J. P.D., Walsh, L.A. Meyers, M. Raymond, D. Caillaud (2012) Transmission of Infectious Diseases En Route to Habitat Hotspots. PLoS ONE 7(2): e31290.

Tekle, Y.I., K.M. Nielsen, J. Liu, M.M. Pettigrew, L.A. Meyers, A.P. Galvani and J.P. Townsend (2012) Controlling Antimicrobial Resistance through Targeted, Vaccine-Induced Replacement of Strains. PLoS ONE 7: e50688.

Mbah, M.L.N., J. Liu, C.T. Bauch, Y.I. Tekel, J. Medlock, L.A. Meyers,  A.P. Galvani (2012) The impact of imitation versus rationality on vaccination behavior in social contact networks. PLoS Computational Biology 8(4): e1002469.


Volz, E.M., J.C.Miller, A.P. Galvani, L.A. Meyers (2011) Effects of Heterogeneous and Clustered Contact Patterns on Infectious Disease Dynamics. PLoS Computational Biology 7: e1002042.

Cornforth, D., T. Reluga, A. Galvani, C. Bauch, E. Shim, L.A. Meyers (2011) Erratic flu vaccination emerges from short-sighted behaviour in contact networks. PLoS Computational Biology 7: e1001062.

Dimitrov, N., S. Goll, N. Hupert, B. Pourbohloul, L.A. Meyers (2011) Optimizing Tactics for use of the U.S. Antiviral Strategic National Stockpile for Pandemic Influenza. PLoS ONE 6: e16094.

Conway et al. (L.A. Meyers 11th of 21 authors) (2011) Vaccination against 2009 pandemic H1N1 in a population dynamical model of Vancouver, Canada: timing is everything. BMC Public Health 11: 932.

Li, M., G.B. Chapman, Y. Ibuka, L.A. Meyers, A.P. Galvani (2011) Who got vaccinated against H1N1 pandemic flu? A longitudinal study. Psychology and Health. DOI:10.1080/08870446.2011.554833.

Wells, C., J.M. Tchuenche, L.A. Meyers, A.P. Galvani, C.T. Bauch (2011) Impact of Imitation Processes on the Effectiveness of Ring Vaccination. Bulletin of Mathematical Biology. DOI 10.1007/s11538-011-9646-4.

E. Shim, L.A. Meyers, A.P. Galvani. (2011) Optimal H1N1 vaccination strategies based on self-interest versus group interest. BMC Public Health 11(Suppl 1): S4.


Craft, M.E., E. Volz, C. Packer, L.A. Meyers (2010) Disease transmission in territorial populations: The small-world network of Serengeti lions. Journal of the Royal Society Interface 8: 776-786.

Volz, E., S.D.W. Frost, R. Rothenberg, L.A. Meyers (2010) Epidemiological bridging by injection drug use drives an early HIV epidemic. Epidemics 2: 155-164.

Bansal, S., J. Read, B. Pourbohloul, L.A. Meyers (2010) The dynamic nature of contact networks in infectious disease epidemiology. Journal of Biological Dynamics 4: 478-489.

Dimitrov, N.B. and L.A. Meyers (2010) Mathematical Approaches to Infectious Disease Prediction and Control. J. J. Hasenbein, ed. INFORMS TutORials in Operations Research 7: 1-25.

Ibuka, Y., G.B. Chapman, L.A. Meyers, M. Li, A.P. Galvani (2010) The dynamics of risk perceptions and precautionary behavior in response to 2009 (H1N1) pandemic influenza. BMC Infectious Diseases 10: 296.

Bansal, S., B. Pourbohloul, N. Hupert, B. Grenfell, L.A. Meyers (2010) The Shifting Demographic Landscape of Pandemic Influenza. PLoS ONE 5: e9360. (Earlier version published on PLoS Currents Influenza (2009))


Medlock, J., L.A. Meyers, A. Galvani (2009) Optimizing allocation for a delayed influenza vaccination campaign. PLoS Currents: Influenza: RRN1134.

Bansal, S., S. Khandelwal, L.A. Meyers (2009) Exploring Biological Network Structure with Clustered Random Networks. BMC Bioinformatics 10: 405.

Pourbohloul, B., A. Ahued, B. Davoudi, R. Meza, L.A. Meyers, et al. (2009) Initial human transmission dynamics of the pandemic (H1N1) 2009 virus in North America. Influenza and other Respiratory Viruses 3: 215-222.

Craft, M.E., E. Volz, C. Packer, L.A. Meyers (2009) Distinguishing epidemic waves from disease spillover in a wildlife population. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 276: 1777-1785.


L.A. Meyers (2008) Statistics Primer. To accompany Life: The Science of Biology, Eighth Edition. Sinauer Associates.

Cowperthwaite, M.C., E.P. Economo, W.R. Harcombe, E.L. Miller, L.A. Meyers (2008) A Simple Rule Shapes Phenotype Evolution. PLoS Computational Biology 4: e1000110.

Volz, E., L.A. Meyers (2008) Static network approximations and epidemic thresholds for a simple SIR model in dynamic contact networks. Journal of the Royal Society Interface 6: 233-241.


Volz, E., L.A. Meyers (2007) Susceptible–infected–recovered epidemics in dynamic contact networks. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 274: 2925-2933.

Bansal, S., B.T. Grenfell, L.A. Meyers (2007) When individual behavior matters: homogeneous and network models in epidemiology. Journal of the Royal Society Interface 4: 879-891.

Meyers, L.A. (2007) Contact network epidemiology: Bond percolation applied to infectious disease prediction and control. Bulletin of the American Mathematical Society 44: 63-86.

Cowperthwaite, M., L.A. Meyers (2007) How mutational networks shape evolution: Lessons from RNA models. Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics 38: 203-230.


Bansal, S., B. Pourbohloul, L.A. Meyers (2006) A comparative analysis of influenza vaccination programs. PLoS Medicine 3: e387.

Ferrari, M.J., S. Bansal, L.A. Meyers, O.N. Bjørnstad (2006) Network frailty and the geometry of herd immunity. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 273: 2743-2748.

Meyers, L.A., M.E.J. Newman, B. Pourbohloul (2006) Predicting epidemics on directed contact networks. Journal of Theoretical Biology 240: 400-418

Cowperthwaite, M., J.J. Bull, L.A. Meyers (2006) From bad to good: Fitness reversals and the ascent of deleterious mutations. PLoS Computational Biology 2: e141.

Meyers, L.A., D.A. Levin (2006) On the abundance of polyploids in flowering plants. Evolution 60: 1198-1206.


Cowperthwaite, M., J.J. Bull, L.A. Meyers (2005) Distributions of beneficial fitness effects in RNA. Genetics 170: 1449-1457.

Meyers, L.A., F. Ancel, M. Lachmann (2005) Evolution of genetic potential. PLoS Computational Biology 1: 236-243.

Meyers, L.A., B. Pourbohloul*, M.E.J. Newman, D.M. Skowronski, R.C. Brunham (2005) Network theory and SARS: Predicting outbreak diversity. Journal of Theoretical Biology 232: 71-81.

Pourbohloul, B., L.A. Meyers*, Krajden, M., Patrick, D.M., Brunham, R.C. (2005) A quantitative comparison of control strategies for respiratory-borne pathogens. Emerging Infectious Diseases 11: 1249-1256.

Bull, J.J., L.A. Meyers, M. Lachmann (2005) Quasispecies made simple. PLoS Computational Biology 1: 450-460.

Meyers, L.A. (2005) Constraints on variation from genotype through phenotype to fitness, in “Variation: A Hierarchical Examination of a Central Concept in Biology” (B. Hallgrimsson and B. Hall, Eds.), Academic Press.

Meyers, L.A. and W. Fontana (2005) Evolutionary lock-in and the origin of modularity in RNA structure, in “Modularity – Understanding the Development and Evolution of Complex Natural Systems” (W. Callebaut and D. Rasskin-Gutman, Eds.), MIT Press.


Meyers, L.A. (2004) Book review of Gerhard Schlosser and Günter Wagner (Eds.), “Modularity in Development and Evolution” Science 306: 814-815.

Meyers, L.A. (2004) Book review of Bruce H. Weber and David J. Depew (Eds.), “Evolution and Learning: The Baldwin Effect Reconsidered” American Journal of Human Biology 16: 495-496.

Meyers, L.A., J.F. Lee, M. Cowperthwaite, A.D. Ellington (2004) The robustness of naturally and artificially selected nucleic acid secondary structures. Journal of Molecular Evolution 58: 681-691.

Lee, J.F., J.R. Hesselberth, L.A. Meyers, and A.D. Ellington (2004) Aptamer database. Nucleic Acids Research, 32: D95-D100.


Meyers, L.A., B.R. Levin, A.R. Richardson and I. Stojilkovic (2003) Epidemiology, hypermutation, within-host evolution and the virulence of Neisseria meningitidis. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 270: 1667-1677.

Meyers, L.A., M.E.J. Newman, M. Martin and S. Schrag (2003) Applying network theory to epidemics: Control measures for Mycoplasma pneumoniae outbreaks. Emerging Infectious Diseases 9: 204-210.

De Visser, J.A.G.M., J. Hermisson, G.P. Wagner, L.A. Meyers, et al. (2003) Perspective: Evolution and Detection of Genetic Robustness. Evolution 57: 1959-1972.


Meyers, L.A. and J.J. Bull (2002) Fighting change with change: adaptive variation in an uncertain world. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 17: 551-557.

Prior to 2002 (Published under maiden name L.W. Ancel)

Ancel, L.W. and W. Fontana (2000) Plasticity, evolvability and modularity in RNA. Journal of Experimental Zoology (Molecular and Developmental Evolution) 288: 242-283.

Ancel, L.W. (2000) Undermining the Baldwin expediting effect: How phenotypic plasticity influences the rate of evolution. Theoretical Population Biolgy, 58: 307-319.

Ancel, L.W. (1999) A quantitative model of the Simpson-Baldwin effect. Journal of Theoretical Biology 196: 197-209.

Ancel, L.W. and M. W. Hero (1998) One-way intervals of circle maps. Proceedings of the American Mathematical Society 126: 1191-1197.

* First two authors contributed equally.

  • 2011-2013 William H. and Gladys G. Reeder Faculty Fellow, UT
  • 2010-2011 Donald D. Harrington Faculty Fellowship, UT
  • 2003-2015 External Faculty of the Santa Fe Institute, Santa Fe, New Mexico
  • 2006-2015 Fellow, University of Texas Institute for Molecular and Cellular Biology
  • 2005 College of Natural Sciences Teaching Excellence Award, UT
  • 2004 MIT Technology Review TR100: One of 100 Top Global Innovators Under 35
  • 2004 Austin Business Success Center Award for Technological Innovation
  • 2000-2002 National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship in Biological Informatics
  • 2000-2002 Santa Fe Institute Postdoctoral Fellowship
  • 2000 Samuel Karlin Prize for Ph.D Thesis in Mathematical Biology
  • 1999 Steinmetz Fellowship, Santa Fe Institute
  • 1996-1999 National Defense Science & Engineering Graduate Fellowship
  • 1991-1996 U.S. Congressional National Science Scholar