The Institute of Applied Mathematics (IAM) of the University of British Columbia (UBC) has awarded the 2020 “Dr Deepak Kaura” Award in the Mathematics of Medicine to Sarafa Iyaniwura, a PhD student at UBC and alumnus of AIMS South Africa, in recognition of his work using mathematics to study complex biological systems.
Sarafa is working on modelling transmission dynamics of SARS-COV-2 in British Columbia to produce forecasts of possible cases. Provincial policymakers employ these forecasts to make decisions on intervention strategies for limiting the spread of the virus. The model is also being used to study the effectiveness of prioritized vaccination for high-contact and vulnerable individuals. This project is a collaboration among researchers at the British Columbia Center for Disease Control (BC-CDC), the Simon Fraser University (SFU), UBC’s School of Population and Public Health, and BC Children’s Hospital.
Sarafa will receive an unrestricted $1500 award to support his research, which he conducts under the supervision of IAM faculty members Daniel Coombs, Colin MacDonald, and Michael Ward.
This prize, awarded annually to a UBC graduate student in Applied Mathematics, is made possible by a permanent endowment from Dr Deepak Kaura, Chief Medical Officer at 1QBit and Chair of the Board of Joule. Dr Kaura (MD, FRCPC, MBA) spent five years in Qatar with the Sidra Medical and Research Center, and most recently served as the Executive Chairman of the Foundational Clinical Services Management Group, where he helped to set new standards in patient care for women and children, and led ground-breaking work in the application of machine learning to health care.
Sarafa graduated from AIMS South Africa in 2014, and his current PhD research at the UBC Institute of Applied Mathematics focuses on mathematical modelling of biological systems.