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 (Fall 2016):


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. R Ben-Shachar and K Koelle, 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 (December, 2014), pp. 20140886-20140886, ISSN 1742-5689 [repository], [doi]
  2. DA Rasmussen, EM Volz and K Koelle, Phylodynamic Inference for Structured Epidemiological Models, edited by SL Kosakovsky Pond, PLoS Computational Biology, vol. 10 no. 4 (Accepted, 2014), pp. e1003570-e1003570 [repository], [doi]
  3. K Koelle and DA Rasmussen, Influenza: Prediction is worth a shot, Nature, vol. 507 no. 7490 (February, 2014), pp. 47-48, ISSN 0028-0836 [doi]
  4. DA Rasmussen, MF Boni and K Koelle, Reconciling Phylodynamics with Epidemiology: The Case of Dengue Virus in Southern Vietnam, Molecular Biology and Evolution, vol. 31 no. 2 (February, 2014), pp. 258-271, ISSN 0737-4038 [repository], [doi]
  5. S Wu, K Koelle and A Rodrigo, Coalescent entanglement and the conditional dependence of the times to common ancestry of mutually exclusive pairs of individuals., J Hered, vol. 104 no. 1 (January, 2013), pp. 86-91 [23077234], [doi]  [abs]