Lauren Ancel Meyers

Director, Division of Statistics
and Scientific Computation
Professor of Integrative Biology
The University of Texas at Austin
1 University Station C0930
Austin, Texas 78712

Phone : (512) 471-4950
Fax : (512) 471-3878

Lab web page

Research Interests Graduate and postdoctoral opportunities Publications CV Media Coverage

Research Interests

My research group works on problems in two general areas. The first is mathematical epidemiology. Over the last five years, we have been developing new network-based mathematical approaches for predicting the spread of infectious diseases and collaborating with public health officials in the US and Canada to apply these methods to designing optimal control measures for respiratory diseases including influenza and SARS.

Our second research area is theoretical evolutionary biology. Using mathematical modeling, my group has addressed several fundamental questions about (a) the impact of environmental heterogeneity on evolutionary dynamics and (b) the structure of complex fitness landscapes. Our work in this area has yielded important insights into the diversity of certain classes of biological molecules and the ability of some viruses to rapidly evolve as they spread through human populations.

Opportunities to join the Meyers' research group

Prospective graduate students, my group is affiliated with three Ph.D programs at UT. Follow these links to find out more:

Ecology, Evolution and Behavior

Computational and Applied Mathematics

Institute for Cellular and Molecular Biology


2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 Prior to 2003


Caillaud, D., M.E. Craft and L.A. Meyers (2013) Epidemiological effects of group size variation in social species. Journal of the Royal Society Interface 10: 20130206.
[PDF] (524 KB reprint)


Scarpino, S.V., N.B. Dimitrov and L.A. Meyers (2012) Optimizing Provider Recruitment for Influenza Surveillance Networks. PLoS Computational Biology 8: e1002472.
[PDF] (1.4 MB reprint) [Supplement]

Bansal, S. and L.A. Meyers (2012) The impact of past epidemics on future disease dynamics. Journal of Theoretical Biology 309: 176-184.
[PDF] (459 KB reprint)

Hladish, T.J., E. Melamud, L.A. Barrera, A. Galvani, L.A. Meyers (2012) EpiFire: An open source C++ library and application for contact network epidemiology. BMC Bioinformatics 13: 76.

Azar, O.M., A. Galvani, L.A. Meyers (2012) Geographic prioritization of distributing pandemic influenza vaccines. Health Care Management Science DOI 10.1007/s10729-012-9199-6.
[PDF] (883 KB reprint)

Araz, O.M., P. Damien, D.A. Paltiel, S. Burke, B. van de Geijn, A. Galvani, L.A. Meyers (2012) Simulating school closure policies for cost effective pandemic decision making. BMC Public Health 12: 449.

Tekle, Y.I., K.M. Nielsen, J. Liu, M.M. Pettigrew, L.A. Meyers, A.P. Galvani and J.P. Townsend (2012) Controlling Antimicrobial Resistance through Targeted, Vaccine-Induced Replacement of Strains. PLoS ONE 7: e50688.
[PDF] (502 KB reprint)

Benavides, J. P.D., Walsh, L.A. Meyers, M. Raymond, D. Caillaud (2012) Transmission of Infectious Diseases En Route to Habitat Hotspots. PLoS ONE 7: e31290.
[PDF] (680 KB reprint)

Fitzpatrick, M.C., K. Hampson, S. Cleaveland, L.A. Meyers, J.P. Townsend and A.P. Galvani (2012) Potential for Rabies Control through Dog Vaccination in Wildlife-Abundant Communities of Tanzania. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases 6: e1796.
[PDF] (502 KB reprint)

Ndeffo Mbah, M.L., J. Liu, C.T. Bauch, Y.I. Tekel, J. Medlock L.A. Meyers and A.P. Galvani (2012) The Impact of Imitation on Vaccination Behavior in Social Contact Networks. PLoS Computational Biology 8: e1002469.
[PDF] (502 KB reprint)

Davoudi, B. J.C. Miller, R. Meza, L.A. Meyers, D.J.D. Earn, B. Pourbohloul (2012) Early Real-Time Estimation of the Basic Reproduction Number of Emerging Infectious Diseases. Physial Review X 2: 031005.
[PDF] (1.1 MB reprint)


Volz, E.M., J.C.Miller, A.P. Galvani, L.A. Meyers (2011) Effects of Heterogeneous and Clustered Contact Patterns on Infectious Disease Dynamics. PLoS Computational Biology 7: e1002042.
[PDF] (549 KB reprint) [Supplement] (307 KB)

Cornforth, D.M., T.C. Reluga, E. Shim, C.T. Bauch, A.P. Galvani, L.A. Meyers (2011) Erratic Flu Vaccination Emerges from Short-Sighted Behavior in Contact Networks. PLoS Computational Biology 7: e1001062.
[PDF] (590 KB reprint) [Supplement] (303 KB)

Dimitrov, N., S. Goll, N. Hupert, B. Pourbohloul, L.A. Meyers (2011) Optimizing Tactics for use of the U.S. Antiviral Strategic National Stockpile for Pandemic Influenza. PLoS ONE 6: e16094.
[PDF] (676 KB reprint) [Supplement] (686 KB) [Visualization] (1.4 MB mp4 file)

Li, M., G.B. Chapman, Y. Ibuka, L.A. Meyers, A. Galvani (2011) Who got vaccinated against H1N1 pandemic influenza? – A longitudinal study in four US cities. Psychology and Health DOI:10.1080/08870446.2011.554833.
[PDF] (242 KB reprint)

Wells, C., J.M. Tchuenche, L.A. Meyers, A.P. Galvani, C.T. Bauch (2011) Impact of Imitation Processes on the Effectiveness of Ring Vaccination. Bulletin of Mathematical Biology DOI 10.1007/s11538-011-9646-4.
[PDF] (868 KB reprint)

Shim, E., L.A. Meyers, A.P. Galvani (2011) Optimal H1N1 vaccination strategies based on self-interest versus group interest. BMC Public Health 11(Suppl 1): S4.
[PDF] (410 KB reprint)

Meyers, L.A., B. Kerr, K. Koelle (2011) Special Issue Editorial: Network Perspectives on Infectious Disease Dynamics. Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Infectious Diseases 146765.
[PDF] (433 KB reprint) Full special issue: [list of articles]


Craft, M.E., E. Volz, C. Packer, L.A. Meyers (2010) Disease transmission in territorial populations: The small-world network of Serengeti lions. Journal of the Royal Society Interface doi:10.1098/rsif.2010.0511.
[PDF] (733 KB reprint) [Supplement] (770 KB) [media coverage]

Volz, E., S.D.W. Frost, R. Rothenberg, L.A. Meyers (2010) Epidemiological bridging by injection drug use drives an early HIV epidemic. Epidemics 2: 155-164.
[PDF] (1.4 MB reprint)

Bansal, S., J. Read, B. Pourbohloul, L.A. Meyers (2010) The dynamic nature of contact networks in infectious disease epidemiology. Journal of Biological Dynamics 4: 478-489.
[PDF] (385 KB reprint)

Dimitrov, N.B. and L.A. Meyers (2010) Mathematical Approaches to Infectious Disease Prediction and Control. J. J. Hasenbein, ed. INFORMS TutORials in Operations Research 7: 1-25.
[PDF] (1.7 MB reprint)

Ibuka, Y., G.B. Chapman, L.A. Meyers, M. Li, A.P. Galvani (2010) The dynamics of risk perceptions and precautionary behavior in response to 2009 (H1N1) pandemic influenza. BMC Infectious Diseases 10: 296.
[PDF] (676 KB reprint)

Bansal, S., B. Pourbohloul, N. Hupert, B. Grenfell, L.A. Meyers (2010) The Shifting Demographic Landscape of Pandemic Influenza. PLoS ONE 5: e9360.
[PDF] (479 KB reprint) [Supplement] (4.4 MB)
Earlier version published on PLoS Currents Influenza (2009) [view html] [Supplement] (3.9 MB)


Medlock, J., L.A. Meyers, A. Galvani (2009) Optimizing allocation for a delayed influenza vaccination campaign. PLoS Currents Influenza.
[view html] [Supplement] (680 KB)

Dimitrov, N., S. Goll, N. Hupert, B. Pourbohloul, L.A. Meyers (2009) Optimizing Tactics for use of the U.S. Antiviral Strategic National Stockpile for Pandemic (H1N1) Influenza, 2009. PLoS Currents Influenza.
[view html] [Supplement] (528 KB)

Bansal, S., S. Khandelwal, L.A. Meyers (2009) Exploring biological network structure with clustered random networks. BMC Bioinformatics 10: 405.
[PDF] (946 KB reprint)

Pourbohloul, B., A. Ahued, B. Davoudi, R. Meza, L.A. Meyers, et al. (2009) Initial human transmission dynamics of the pandemic (H1N1) 2009 virus in North America. Influenza and other Respiratory Diseases 3: 215-222.
[PDF] (460 KB reprint) [Supplement] (483 KB)

Craft, M.E., E. Volz, C. Packer, L.A. Meyers (2009) Distinguishing epidemic waves from disease spillover in a wildlife population. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London: Biological Sciences 276: 1777-1785.
[PDF] (904 KB reprint) [Supplement] (388 KB)


L.A. Meyers (2008) Statistics Primer. To accompany Life: The Science of Biology, Eighth Edition. Sinauer Associates.
[PDF] (924 KB reprint)

Volz, E., L.A. Meyers (2008) Epidemic thresholds in dynamic contact networks. Journal of the Royal Society Interface. doi:10.1098/rsif.2008.0218.
[PDF] (236 KB reprint)

Cowperthwaite, M., E.P. Economo, W.R. Harcombe, E.L. Miller, L.A. Meyers (2008) The ascent of the abundant: How mutational networks constrain evolution. PLoS Computational Biology 4: e1000110.
[PDF] (836 KB reprint)


Volz, E., L.A. Meyers (2007) Susceptible–infected–recovered epidemics in dynamic contact networks. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 274: 2925-2933.
[PDF] (404 KB reprint) [Supplement] (1.1 MB)

Cowperthwaite, M., L.A. Meyers (2007) How mutational networks shape evolution: Lessons from RNA models. Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics 38: 203-230.
[PDF] (820 KB reprint)

Bansal, S., B.T. Grenfell, L.A. Meyers (2007) When individual behavior matters: homogeneous and network models in epidemiology. Journal of the Royal Society Interface 4: 879-891.
[PDF] (656 KB reprint)

Meyers, L.A. (2007) Contact network epidemiology: Bond percolation applied to infectious disease prediction and control. Bulletin of the American Mathematical Society 44: 63-86.
[PDF] (536 KB reprint)


Cowperthwaite, M., J.J. Bull, L.A. Meyers (2006) From bad to good: Fitness reversals and the ascent of deleterious mutations. PLoS Computational Biology 2: e141.
[PDF] (824 KB reprint)

Bansal, S., B. Pourbohloul, L.A. Meyers (2006) A comparative analysis of influenza vaccination programs. PLoS Medicine 3: e387.
[PDF] (896 KB reprint)

Ferrari, M.J., S. Bansal, L.A. Meyers, O.N. Bjørnstad (2006) Network frailty and the geometry of herd immunity. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London: Biological Sciences 273: 2743-2748.
[PDF] (228 KB reprint)

Meyers, L.A., D.A. Levin (2006) On the abundance of polyploids in flowering plants. Evolution 60: 1198-1206.
[PDF] (940 KB reprint)

Meyers, L.A., M.E.J. Newman, B. Pourbohloul (2006) Predicting epidemics on directed contact networks. Journal of Theoretical Biology 240: 400-418.
[PDF] (484 KB reprint)


Bull, J.J., L.A. Meyers, M. Lachmann (2005) Quasispecies made simple. PLoS Computational Biology 1: 450-460.
[PDF] (2 MB reprint)

Meyers, L.A., F.D. Ancel, M. Lachmann (2005) Evolution of genetic potential. PLoS Computational Biology 1: 236-243.
[PDF] (2 MB reprint)

Cowperthwaite, M., J.J. Bull, L.A. Meyers (2005) Distributions of beneficial fitness effects in RNA. Genetics 170: 1449-1457.
[PDF] (224 KB reprint)

Pourbohloul, B., L.A. Meyers, Krajden, M., Patrick, D.M., Brunham, R.C. (2005) A quantitative comparison of control strategies for respiratory-borne pathogens. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 11: 1249-1256.
[PDF] (64 KB reprint)

Meyers, L.A. (2005) Constraints on variation from genotype through phenotype to fitness, in "Variation: A Central Concept in Biology" (B. Hallgrimsson and B. Hall, Eds.), Academic Press.

Meyers, L.A. and W. Fontana (2005) Evolutionary lock-in and the origin of modularity in RNA structure, in "Modularity: Understanding the Development and Evolution of Complex Natural Systems" (W. Callebaut and D. Rasskin-Gutman, Eds.), MIT Press.

Meyers, L.A., B. Pourbohloul, M.E.J. Newman, D.M. Skowronski, R.C. Brunham (2005) Network theory and SARS: Predicting outbreak diversity. Journal of Theoretical Biology 232: 71-81.
[PDF] (560 KB reprint)


Meyers, L.A. (2004) Book review of Gerhard Schlosser and Günter Wagner (Eds.), "Modularity in Development and Evolution" Science 306: 814-815.
[PDF] (196 KB reprint)

Meyers, L.A. (2004) Book review of Bruce H. Weber and David J. Depew (Eds.), "Evolution and Learning: The Baldwin Effect Reconsidered." American Journal of Human Biology 16: 495-496.
[PDF] (64 KB reprint)

Meyers, L.A., J.F. Lee, M. Cowperthwaite, A.D. Ellington (2004) The robustness of naturally and artificially selected nucleic acid secondary structures. Journal of Molecular Evolution 58: 681-691.
[PDF] (312 KB reprint)

Lee, J.F., J.R. Hesselberth, L.A. Meyers, and A.D. Ellington (2004) Aptamer database. Nucleic Acids Research, 32: D95-D100.
[PDF] (288 KB reprint)


Meyers, L.A., B.R. Levin, A.R. Richardson and I. Stojilkovic (2003) Epidemiology, hypermutation, within-host evolution and the virulence of Neisseria meningitidis. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 270: 1667-1677.
[PDF] (352 KB reprint)

Meyers, L.A., M.E.J. Newman, M. Martin and S. Schrag (2003) Applying network theory to epidemics: Control measures for Mycoplasma pneumoniae outbreaks. Emerging Infectious Diseases 9: 204-210.
[PDF] (448 KB reprint)

De Visser, J.A.G.M., J. Hermisson, G.P. Wagner, L.A. Meyers, et al. (2003) Perspective: Evolution and Detection of Genetic Robustness. Evolution 57: 1959-1972.
[PDF] (116 KB reprint)


Meyers, L.A. and J.J. Bull (2002) Fighting change with change: adaptive variation in an uncertain world. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 17: 551-557.
[PDF] (96 KB reprint)


Ancel, L.W. and W. Fontana (2000) Plasticity, evolvability and modularity in RNA. Journal of Experimental Zoology (Molecular and Developmental Evolution) 288: 242-283.
[PDF] (952 KB reprint)

Ancel, L.W. (2000) Undermining the Baldwin expediting effect: How phenotypic plasticity influences the rate of evolution. Theoretical Population Biolgy, 58: 307-319.
[PDF] (556 KB reprint)


Ancel, L.W. (1999) A quantitative model of the Simpson-Baldwin effect. Journal of Theoretical Biology 196: 197-209.
[PDF] (348 KB reprint)


Ancel, L.W. and M. W. Hero (1998) One-way intervals of circle maps. Proceedings of the American Mathematical Society 126: 1191-1197.
[PDF] (192 KB reprint)

Curriculum Vitae

Lauren Ancel Meyers' CV

Short version

Media Coverage

Austin American Statesman (2009), Ranger's new challenge: help fight swine flu

Slate (2009), Charles Darwin Tagged You in a Note on Facebook

Wall Street Journal (2006), If we must ration vaccines for a flu, who calls the shots?

MIT Technology Review (2004), TR100: Top 100 Global Innovators Under Age 35

Newsweek (2003), The battle against bugs gets serious

University of Texas Website (2003), Predicting the path of infectious diseases

Wired.com (2003), Behind the six degrees of SARS