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Pamela P. Martinez

Assistant Professor of Microbiology

Research Interests

Research Topics

Computational Biology, Host-Pathogen Interactions

Disease Research Interests

Infectious Diseases

Research Description

In most pathogens, epidemiological and evolutionary processes occur on similar time scales due to the large population sizes and short generation times. This makes infectious diseases amenable to study and the interplay of their ecology and evolution particularly relevant for both fundamental biology and applied public health. However, temporal and spatial changes in infectious disease dynamics are difficult to anticipate due to the effects of environmental drivers on the transmission of pathogens and the complex diversity that these microorganisms exhibit.

To address these challenges, my research on the ecology and evolution of infectious diseases focuses on the following general questions:

  1. How do climatic and demographic factors shape the population dynamics of infectious diseases in space and time?
  2. How does pathogen diversity interact and interfere with public health interventions?

For answering these questions, I use mathematical and computational tools that are applied to different types of time series data.

Additional Campus Affiliations

Highlighted Publications

Mena, G.E.*, Martinez, P.P.*, Mahmud, A., Marquet, P., Buckee, C. and Santillana, M., 2021. Socioeconomic status determines COVID-19 incidence and related mortality in Santiago, Chile. Science, DOI: 10.1126/science.abg5298

Smith, R.L., Gibson, L.L., Martinez, P.P., Ke, R., Mirza, A., Conte, M., ..., and Brooke, C. B., 2021. Longitudinal assessment of diagnostic test performance over the course of acute SARS-CoV-2 infection. medRxiv.

Kishore, N.*, Kahn, R.*, Martinez, P.P., De Salazar, P.M., Mahmud, A.S., and Buckee, C. 2021. Lockdowns result in changes in human mobility which may impact the epidemiologic dynamics of SARS-CoV-2. Sci Rep 11, 6995.

Rodó, X., Martinez, P.P., Siraj, A., and Pascual, M., 2021. Malaria trends in Ethiopian highlands track the 2000 'slowdown' in global warming. Nature Communications, 12(1), pp.1-12. 

Azarian, T.*, Martinez, P.P.*, Arnold, B.J., Qiu, X., Grant, L.R., Corander, J., Fraser, C., Croucher, N.J., Hammitt, L.L., Reid, R. and Santosham, M., 2020. Frequency-dependent selection can forecast evolution in Streptococcus pneumoniae. PLoS biology, 18(10), p.e3000878.

Mahmud, A.S., Martinez, P.P., He, J. and Baker, R.E., 2020. The Impact of Climate Change on Vaccine-Preventable Diseases: Insights From Current Research and New Directions. Current environmental health reports, pp.1-8

Martinez, P.P.*, Mahmud A.S.*, Yunus, M., Faruque, A.S.G., Ahmed T., Pascual, M., Buckee, C.O., 2019. Tube Well Use as Protection Against Rotavirus Infection During the Monsoons in an Urban Setting, The Journal of Infectious Diseases, jiz436.

Martinez, P.P., King, A.A., Yunus, M., Faruque, A.S.G., Pascual, M., 2016. Differential and enhanced response to climate forcing in diarrheal disease due to rotavirus across a megacity of the developing world. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 113(15), pp.4092-4097.

Recent Publications

Mahmud, A. S., Bhattacharjee, J., Baker, R. E., & Martinez, P. P. (2024). Alarming trends in dengue incidence and mortality in Bangladesh. The Journal of infectious diseases, 229(1), 4-6. Article jiad529. https://doi.org/10.1093/infdis/jiad529

Larsen, S. L., Shin, I., Joseph, J., West, H., Anorga, R., Mena, G. E., Mahmud, A. S., & Martinez, P. P. (2023). Quantifying the impact of SARS-CoV-2 temporal vaccination trends and disparities on disease control. Science Advances, 9(31), Article eadh9920. https://doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.adh9920

Mahmud, A. S., Martinez, P. P., & Baker, R. E. (2023). The impact of current and future climates on spatiotemporal dynamics of influenza in a tropical setting. PNAS Nexus, 2(9), Article pgad307. https://doi.org/10.1093/pnasnexus/pgad307

Ke, R., Martinez, P. P., Smith, R. L., Gibson, L. L., Mirza, A., Conte, M., Gallagher, N., Luo, C. H., Jarrett, J., Zhou, R., Conte, A., Liu, T., Farjo, M., Walden, K. K. O., Rendon, G., Fields, C. J., Wang, L., Fredrickson, R., Edmonson, D. C., ... Brooke, C. B. (2022). Daily longitudinal sampling of SARS-CoV-2 infection reveals substantial heterogeneity in infectiousness. Nature Microbiology, 7(5), 640-652. https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.07.12.21260208, https://doi.org/10.1038/s41564-022-01105-z

Ke, R., Martinez, P. P., Smith, R. L., Gibson, L. L., Achenbach, C. J., McFall, S., Qi, C., Jacob, J., Dembele, E., Bundy, C., Simons, L. M., Ozer, E. A., Hultquist, J. F., Lorenzo-Redondo, R., Opdycke, A. K., Hawkins, C., Murphy, R. L., Mirza, A., Conte, M., ... Brooke, C. B. (2022). Longitudinal Analysis of SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine Breakthrough Infections Reveals Limited Infectious Virus Shedding and Restricted Tissue Distribution. Open Forum Infectious Diseases, 9(7), Article ofac192. https://doi.org/10.1093/ofid/ofac192

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In the news

  • Graduate students, research scientists, and faculty gathered at the I Hotel and Conference Center earlier this month for the School of Molecular & Cellular Biology’s Graduate Research Retreat. The event brought together scholars from across the school to share scientific discoveries and learn...
  • A team led by scientists at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign tracked the rise and fall of SARS-CoV-2 in the saliva and nasal cavities of people newly infected with the virus. The study was the first to follow acute COVID-19 infections over time through repeated sampling and to compare...
  • The Interdisciplinary Health Sciences Institute (IHSI) is offering the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Grant Writing Series virtually during the 2022 spring semester. The NIH Grant Writing Series prepares faculty to submit their first R01 or other individual investigator proposals to the NIH....
  • People up to age 40 living in economically depressed municipalities in the Greater Santiago, Chile, metropolitan area were three times more likely to die as a result of the infection than their counterparts in wealthier areas, researchers report in the journal Science. People ages 41-80 in low...
  • Professor Martinez was one of ten new faculty hires made in the School of Molecular and Cellular Biology in the last three years. Martinez is an assistant professor of microbiology and statistics and is an affiliate of the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology, as well as the Department of...