Janka Petravic *


85 Commercial Rd
Burnet Institute
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia


This talk will give examples of modelling infectious diseases at cellular, host-pathogen and population levels, focusing on HIV and malaria infections. The first example is a stochastic model of HIV infection at a cellular level that aims to interpret the results of an in vitro experiment of infection. The model investigates the relationships between the distributions of virus production rates, eclipse phases and infected cell lifespans across the infected cell population, and poses questions about the nature of latent infection.

Latently infected cells represent a major barrier to cure of HIV infection by antiretroviral therapy (ART). The second example is an in-host model that estimates the impact of latency-reversing agents on the reservoir of latently infected cells in patients on ART.

Malaria infection resulting in serious complications and death occurs predominantly in young children, while adults gradually acquire resistance with repeated exposure. We used mathematical modelling to understand which form of immunity is consistent with the observed rates of reinfection in adults and children seen in the field study data.


Biographic Details

Name: Janka Petravic

Title: Dr, Senior Research Officer

Affiliation: Burnet Institute, Country: Australia

Phone: +61 439 586 834 E-mail: janka.petravic@burnet.edu.au

Janka Petravic is a theoretical physicist who, after several years of work in the field of computational physics of liquids, changed the focus of her research to modelling infectious diseases, with primary interests in the within-host interaction between a pathogen and the immune system in HIV infection and malaria. The perspective of her models ranges from the cell invasion by the pathogen, to the disease-response dynamics within the body and finally to the epidemiological implications. The models are firmly grounded in data in order to maintain clinical relevance. Since recently, she is working at the Burnet Institute in Melbourne on the epidemiology of malnutrition in low- and middle-income countries.

Research interests: nutrition, infectious diseases, pharmacokinetics, ageing