Lauren Childs, assistant professor of mathematics in the College of Science at Virginia Tech, has been named the Cliff and Agnes Lilly Faculty Fellow by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.

Agnes Lilly established the Cliff and Agnes Lilly Faculty Fellowship to support and recognize faculty dedicated to extraordinary research and teaching, to recruit scholars with exceptional records of achievement, or to retain high-performing faculty members who make significant contributions to research and scholarship. Lilly Fellowship appointment is for three years and is renewable.

A member of the Department of Mathematics since 2016, Childs’ research is in mathematical biology and combines mathematical models, theoretical analysis, and biological insight to understand infectious disease dynamics, such as those of the current outbreak of COVID-19. Her recent work, with focus on realism of epidemiological disease models and the development of host immune responses, successfully bridges experimental, computational, and theoretical approaches to research. 

Childs has written nearly 30 publications in leading research journals and has given more than 65 invited professional presentations. Her research expertise has been recognized with two recent awards from the National Science Foundation to study infectious disease dynamics.

In the classroom, Childs integrates her research into her teaching in the mathematics as well as in the systems biology and computational modeling and data analytics (CMDA) programs – both part of the Academy of Integrated Science, part of the College of Science. Through these efforts, she has successfully engaged many undergraduate and graduate students in the publication of their research.

Before coming to Virginia Tech, Childs was a research scientist and postdoctoral fellow in the Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health from 2012 to 2016 and as postdoctoral researcher in the School of Mathematics and the School of Biology at Georgia Institute of Technology.

Childs received bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and chemistry from Duke University in 2004 and a master’s degree and Ph.D. in applied mathematics from Cornell University in 2007 and 2010, respectively.

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