Notre Dame’s Alex Perkins Wins Powe Award

Author: Sarah Craig

Alex Perkins, Ph.D., Eck Family Assistant Professor in the Departments of Biological Sciences and Applied and Computational Mathematics and Statistics, and a member of the Eck Institute for Global Health, has been recognized with the Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU) Powe Award for Junior Faculty (

Perkins Alex

Research in Dr. Perkins’ lab applies mathematical modeling to the study of infectious disease transmission dynamics and control, with a focus on mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue and malaria. The Powe Award will enable Dr. Perkins to establish a new collaboration with researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory on mathematical modeling of West Nile virus transmission in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, West Nile infection in humans can result in fever, neurological illness, and other symptoms lasting for weeks or months in some cases. It is caused by viruses that are transmitted by mosquitoes between reservoir species such as birds and “dead-end” hosts such as humans and horses. Dr. Perkins stated, “This is an exciting opportunity, because it involves interdisciplinary collaboration and will allow us to apply a new set of tools to forecasting human cases of West Nile fever in the United States.”

ORAU, located in the heart of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, is a consortium of major PhD-granting academic institutions designed to cultivate collaborative partnerships that enhance the scientific research and education enterprise in our nation. Founded by William G. Pollard in 1946, the Oak Ridge Institute of Nuclear Studies (ORINS), now known as ORAU, developed as a support system for both the federal government and 14 southern universities.

The last time a University of Notre Dame faculty member received a Powe Award from ORAU was in 2008 by Dr. Yongtao Zhang, Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Applied and Computational Mathematics and Statistics.

In 2009, (ORAU) announced the addition of Notre Dame’s vice president and senior associate provost, Dr. Christine Maziar, to its Board of Directors during its 64th Annual Meeting of the ORAU Council of Sponsoring Institutions. The board provides policy and fiduciary oversight of ORAU operations for its membership.

The University of Notre Dame is an ORAU Consortium Member. ORAU provides innovative scientific and technical solutions to advance national priorities in science, education, strengthen national security, and protect health and the environment. For more than 65 years, ORAU has partnered with the US Department of Energy (DOE) and other government agencies. Through specialized teams of experts, unique laboratory capabilities and access to a consortium of more than 100 major PhD-granting institutions, ORAU works to serve the public interest. A 501©(3) nonprofit corporation and federal contractor, ORAU manages the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) for the US DOE.

The Eck Institute for Global Health recognizes health as a fundamental human right and endeavors to promote research, training, and service to advance health standards for all people, especially people in low-and middle-income countries, who are disproportionately impacted by preventable diseases.

Originally published by Sarah Craig at on April 27, 2016.