Michael Li


Research interests

I am a theoretical/computational/mathematical/statistical disease modeler/analyst. I focus on human-related diseases (HIV, influenza, and currently COVID-19) and some wildlife diseases (canine rabies), especially in forecasting epidemic outbreaks, retrospective analysis of the evolution of infectious diseases and intervention strategies/policies for disease control. I work at the interface between statistics, disease ecology and mathematical epidemiology; developing new methods that appropriately account for uncertainties and link statistical summaries and estimates with meaningful ecological and epidemiological parameters; and analyzing the effects of policy changes on disease control.



Ph.D., Biology, McMaster University, 2015–2019. Thesis: Methods For Modeling The Spread of Infectious Disease. Supervisors: Dr. Ben Bolker, Dr. Jonathan Dushoff

M.Sc., Statistics, McMaster University, 2013–2015. Thesis: Incorporating Temporal Heterogeneity in Hidden Markov Models For Animal Movement. Supervisor: Dr. Ben Bolker

HB.Sc., Statistics and Mathematics, University of Toronto: 2009–2013

Recent Work experience

Research Associate: South African Centre for Epidemiological Modelling and Analysis (SACEMA), 2020–present

Postdoctoral fellow: McMaster University, 2019–present. Supervisor: Dr. Jonathan Dushoff

Professional service

MS. reviewer

For New England Journal of Medicine, Epidemics, Journal of Agricultural, Biological, and Environmental Statistics, Journal of Animal Ecology, and Movement Ecology.


Publicly available government reports

$\color{blue}{\text{Provincial}}$ and $\color{blue}{\text{National}}$ Projection reports for Republic of South Africa.

Research Articles

Park SW, Bolker BM, Champredon D, Earn DJD, Li M, Weitz JS, Grenfell BT, Dushoff J. “Reconciling early-outbreak estimates of the basic reproductive number and its uncertainty: framework and applications to the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) outbreak.” Journal of The Royal Society Interface. July 2020; 17:168

Li M, Bolker BM, Dushoff J, Ma J, Earn DJD. Patterns of seasonal and pandemic influenza-associated health care and mortality in Ontario, Canada. BMC Public Health. 2019 Dec 1;19(1):1237.

Shi, Chyun, Michael Li, and Jonathan Dushoff. “Traditional Male Circumcision is Associated with Sexual Risk Behaviors in Sub-Saharan Countries Prioritized for Male Circumcision.” AIDS and behavior (2019): 1–9.

Li, M., Dushoff, J., & Bolker, B. M. (2018). Fitting mechanistic epidemic models to data: a comparison of simple Markov chain Monte Carlo approaches. Statistical methods in medical research, 27(7), 1956–1967.

Shi, C. F., Li, M., & Dushoff, J. (2017). Evidence that promotion of male circumcision did not lead to sexual risk compensation in prioritized Sub-Saharan countries. PloS one, 12(4), e0175928.

Champredon, D., Li, M., Bolker, B.M. and Dushoff, J., 2018. Two approaches to forecast Ebola synthetic epidemics. Epidemics, 22, pp.36-42.

Li, M., & Bolker, B. M. (2017). Incorporating periodic variability in hidden Markov models for animal movement. Movement ecology, 5(1), 1.

Preprint Articles

Papst, I., Li, M., Champredon, D., Bolker, B.M., Dushoff, J. and Earn, D.J.D, 2020. Age-dependence of healthcare interventions for SARS-CoV-2 infection in Ontario, Canada. medRxiv.

Park, S.W., Sun, K., Champredon, D., Li, M., Bolker, B.M., Earn, D.J.D, Weitz, J.S., Grenfell, B.T. and Dushoff, J., 2020. Cohort-based approach to understanding the roles of generation and serial intervals in shaping epidemiological dynamics. medRxiv.

Past Work experience


Statistics Canada Research Data Centre (RDC) at McMaster University

Teaching Assistant (McMaster University)