Ecosystem Change and Population Health (ECAPH)

Ecosystem Change and Population Health (ECAPH) research group is led by Prof. Wenbiao Hu

Climate change is affecting our ecosystem and poses a great threat to the current and future health and well-being of humanity. ECAPH research group aims to 1) identify major socio-ecological determinants of health and develop decision support tools based on climate and environmental change; 2) develop innovative spatiotemporal models and early warning systems for environmentally-driven infectious diseases in Australia and the Asia-Pacific; 3) apply early warning systems based on big data in real world.

Prof. Hu has more than 30 years’ research experience and substantial knowledge and skills in environmental health assessment and infectious disease epidemiology. He has been awarded over 9 highly prestigious and competitive grants totaling over 13.1 million. Prof. Hu is a reviewer over 30 journals including Science, New England Journal of Medicine, Lancet Infectious Diseases, Lancet Planetary Health, PloS Med, etc. He has supervised 16 PhD research students to completion. He has been at the leading edge of research into identifying the major socio-ecological determinants of infectious diseases using spatiotemporal statistical models. He has pioneered the development of early warning systems of infectious diseases, with real-world application in national and local disease control program. He is the Program Lead for the Biosecurity and Emerging Infections for the NHRMC Healthy Environments and Lives (HEAL) Network comprising over 100 researchers across Australia. Prof. Hu is the Director of the Australia-China Centre for Public Health (ACCPH) at QUT

Current Research Projects:

Using innovative spatiotemporal models with big data to improve infectious diseases surveillance and response

  1. Identify potential predictors for use in dynamic spatiotemporal models;
  2. Develop and validate innovative dynamic spatiotemporal predictive models for predicting infectious diseases incidence that incorporate big data;
  3. Calculate the health burden for infectious diseases under future climate and environmental change scenarios;
  4. Apply and refine the integrated state-of-the-art spatiotemporal models developed in this study.

Dengue risk and adaptation in a rapidly changing environment in Asia-pacific region

  1. Assess dengue risk incorporating the effects of Wolbachia biocontrol and the COVID-19 pandemic;
  2. Recast suitable environmental conditions for dengue transmission within the context of worsening climate change and field Wolbachia releases, and refine the future spatiotemporal distribution of dengue risk and estimate the associated future disease burden under the latest Shared Socioeconomic Pathways emission scenarios;
  3. Develop cutting-edge dynamic spatiotemporal statistical models to assess the overall effects of the complex socio-ecological change on dengue transmission across different socio-environmental contexts;
  4. Provide the scientific evidence for adaptation and mitigation actions in response to accelerating climate change and future emergency public health crisis.

NHMRC Special Initiative in Human Health and Environmental Change: Healthy Environments and Lives network

  1. Strengthen evidence on the complex social and ecological dimensions of infectious diseases and assess and control the risk of changing disease transmission patterns and outbreaks;
  2. Develop a robust early warning system for environmentally-driven infectious diseases in Australia and the Asia-Pacific;
  3. Build on One Health multidisciplinary approaches to infectious diseases, and design an integrated, national surveillance system

Impact of Environmental Change on Non-Communicable Diseases

  1. Environmental Change and Liver Cancer
  2. Environmental Change and Diabetes
  3. Bushfires and Mortality

Research Staff

Research Student