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Philip Eckhoff

Philip Eckhoff

Research Scientist, Principal Investigator

Q: What's the most interesting project you've worked on at IV?
In 2007, I started the epidemiological modeling project, which grew to become the Institute for Disease Modeling (IDM). IDM develops detailed models of disease transmission for malaria, polio, and HIV. These models can be used to help plan public health campaigns. IDM is currently working with the Global Polio Eradication Initiative to help with risk analyses and evaluation of vaccination strategies.

Q: How is working at IV different from previous work you've done in your field?
IDM focuses on impacting public health. There is a very pragmatic focus on developing the tools necessary to make a difference in improving health in the developing world. We build a team of very talented and creative individuals, who are all highly motivated to achieve this impact.

Q: In what ways have you had an opportunity to grow new skills?
IDM spans a wide range of areas from immunology and pathology of a disease, to mathematics of transmission networks, to programming, to software architecture and design, to statistics, to communication and more. 

The team has come together from a wide variety of different backgrounds. By working together, we have a wonderful opportunity to learn from each other. When you are working to create new interdisciplinary solutions, you are challenged to learn a lot as a result.

Q: Comment on the latitude we're given as employees to be creative thinkers/problem solvers.
There is a pragmatic focus on achieving real world impact in IDM. The easiest pathway to that end is to bring together brilliant and creative individuals and give them the freedom to innovate solutions. That is exactly what we have done.

Q: What three things do you do to help IV accomplish our mission of being the leader in the business of invention?
I am helping IV become a leader in the business of invention by developing new disease transmission models, constructing software tools to help the public health community, and building a team that can take on any challenge in the epidemiological modeling sphere.

IV brings brilliant and creative people together and gives them a real opportunity to make a difference.

Q: How do you see IV's values play out on a regular basis? 
Our pioneering spirit is evident as we move into new areas in the field of public health, and it takes knowledge and inventiveness to make progress. Integrity is essential in building models that don’t just look good or sound cool, but actually work and do what they are supposed to do. And to achieve success in public health in the developing world takes tons of patience and passion.

Q: Which value do you need to embrace most in your job and why? Which value inspires you the most in your job and why?
The value that inspires me the most is the passion of the IDM team.

Q: Describe the opportunity to grow through interactions with other IV colleagues.
Working with the scientists and inventors in the Invention Science Fund has been an excellent opportunity to learn and grow. They have been very helpful in thinking through computational issues, immunology, or clinical effects of different diseases.

Q: Tell us more about how you and your team embrace new challenges and opportunities.
Decisions often have to be made rapidly and responses to events must be fast. New opportunities to attack malaria appear all the time through the broader scientific community, and we have to determine how to incorporate these opportunities into a successful campaign. 

Q: Comment on the importance of ideas and how that belief plays out at IV.
It is wonderful to work in a place that values innovation and that places a high priority on the power of ideas to impact the world. IV brings brilliant and creative people together and gives them a real opportunity to make a difference.