School of Population Health

Associate Professor James Wood is helping curb the spread of disease and save lives

James Wood imageJames is an infectious disease modeller who works on analysis of interventions for pandemic responses, vaccine preventable diseases such as pertussis, and sexually transmitted infections, such as gonorrhea, through NHMRC funded projects. After completing his PhD at UQ in mathematical physics in 2004, James did his initial post-doctoral work  at the National Centre for Immunisation Research & Surveillance in Sydney, before joining the School of Population Health in 2008. 

James currently convenes the infectious diseases specialisation within our postgraduate public health programs, including the infectious disease challenges and predictive modelling in public health electives. He is also a postgraduate research coordinator, and regularly inputs into other courses showing how modelling helps contributes to vaccine policy and economic assessment of public health interventions. 

He is currently involved in modelling coronavirus responses as part of a national team, liaising with the NSW Government around specific jurisdictional questions, providing regional modelling support for the World Health Organization Office of the Western Pacific, and regularly comments in the media on COVID-19. 

What motivated you to study infectious diseases? 

I had finished a PhD in mathematics/ physics, and found it interesting that population health and infectious diseases has the same mix of being explainable through mathematics and data analysis, but also a measure of unpredictability and the potential to impact on human life, that makes it a fun area to work in.

Why is your work in public health important to you? 

Improvements in public health can lead to much wider improvements in human health than individual-based measures. The potential to improve life in this way is a good way to wake up in the morning.


Our Master of Infectious Diseases Intelligence, the only one of its kind, is essential for professionals who work in or aspiring to work in health emergencies, outbreaks, infectious diseases risk assessment and emergency responses to infectious diseases. Like all our courses, the Master of Infectious Disease Intelligence can be delivered entirely online. Applications are now open for term two - find out more here. Also see Specialisation in Infectious Diseases Control.