Katharina V. Koelle, Associate Professor of Biology and CNCS: Center for nonlinear and complex systems and Affiliate, Duke Global Health Institute of Duke Global Health Institute

Katharina V. Koelle

My research focuses on the ecology and evolution of infectious diseases. I use a combination of mathematical and statistical approaches to understand the processes driving the disease dynamics of pathogens. My interests include developing models to improve our understanding of how immune escape and other viral phenotypes impact the ecological dynamics of RNA viruses, and, in turn, how these ecological dynamics create selection pressures on viral pathogens. Additional interests include developing within-host models of viral dynamics and evolution and fitting these models to empirical data. Current research projects focus primarily on influenza and dengue.

Office Location:  130 Science Drive, Room 137, Duke Box 90338, Durham, NC 27708
Office Phone:  (919) 660-9457
Email Address: send me a message
Web Page:  http://sites.duke.edu/koelle/

Teaching (Spring 2017):


Ph.D.University of Michigan at Ann Arbor2005
BSStanford University1997

Ecology and Population Biology
Research Interests: Theoretical biology; ecology and evolution of infectious diseases

My research focuses on the ecology and evolution of infectious diseases. I use a combination of mathematical and statistical approaches to understand the processes that give rise to the dynamic and evolutionary patterns of pathogens. More specifically, my interests fall into three main areas: 1) The regulation of infectious disease dynamics, 2) The determinants of genetic and antigenic diversity patterns in pathogen populations, and 3) Pathogen adaptation to environmental change. The systems I have worked most closely with include Vibrio cholerae (the bacterium that causes cholera) and influenza. Most of my current research focuses on the development of quantitative models to further our understanding of rapidly-mutating RNA viruses.


Antigenic Variation • Antigens, Viral • Computer Simulation • Evolution, Molecular • Genetics, Population • Genotype • Immune Evasion • Immunity, Innate • Influenza, Human • Models, Genetic • Models, Immunological • Phylogeny • Population Dynamics • Viral Load

Current Ph.D. Students  

  • Rotem Ben-Shachar  
  • Ashley Sobel  
  • Stacy Scholle  
  • David A. Rasmussen  
Postdocs Mentored

  • Jayna Raghwani (February, 2012 - February, 2013)  
  • Oliver Ratmann (October, 2009 - July, 2012)  
  • Virginia Pasour (August, 2008 - October, 2009)  
Recent Publications

  1. Sobel Leonard, A; McClain, MT; Smith, GJ; Wentworth, DE; Halpin, RA; Lin, X; Ransier, A; Stockwell, TB; Das, SR; Gilbert, AS; Lambkin-Williams, R; Ginsburg, GS; Woods, CW; Koelle, K, Deep Sequencing of Influenza A Virus from a Human Challenge Study Reveals a Selective Bottleneck and Only Limited Intrahost Genetic Diversification., Journal of virology, vol. 90 no. 24 (December, 2016), pp. 11247-11258  [abs]
  2. Flasche, S; Jit, M; Rodríguez-Barraquer, I; Coudeville, L; Recker, M; Koelle, K; Milne, G; Hladish, TJ; Perkins, TA; Cummings, DAT; Dorigatti, I; Laydon, DJ; España, G; Kelso, J; Longini, I; Lourenco, J; Pearson, CAB; Reiner, RC; Mier-y-Terán-Romero, L; Vannice, K; Ferguson, N, The Long-Term Safety, Public Health Impact, and Cost-Effectiveness of Routine Vaccination with a Recombinant, Live-Attenuated Dengue Vaccine (Dengvaxia): A Model Comparison Study, edited by von Seidlein, L, PLoS medicine, vol. 13 no. 11 (November, 2016), pp. e1002181-e1002181 [doi]
  3. Ben-Shachar, R; Schmidler, S; Koelle, K, Drivers of Inter-individual Variation in Dengue Viral Load Dynamics, edited by Ferguson, NM, PLoS computational biology, vol. 12 no. 11 (November, 2016), pp. e1005194-e1005194 [doi]
  4. Koelle, K; Rasmussen, DA, The effects of a deleterious mutation load on patterns of influenza A/H3N2's antigenic evolution in humans, eLife, vol. 4 (September, 2015) [doi]
  5. Ben-Shachar, R; Koelle, K, Minimal within-host dengue models highlight the specific roles of the immune response in primary and secondary dengue infections., Journal of the Royal Society Interface, vol. 12 no. 103 (February, 2015), pp. 20140886-20140886, ISSN 1742-5689 [repository], [doi]  [abs]