A guide to events on our campuses.

Assembly Series

A tradition of convening thought leaders since 1953

McKelvey School of Engineering

EECE Special Seminar ~ Professor Francesca Dominici

Wednesday, November 4 | 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM

A Matter of Life and Breath: Using Data Science to Stop Air Pollution and Climate

The coronavirus will likely kill thousands of Americans. But what if I told you about a serious threat to American national security. This emergency comes from climate change and air pollution.

To help address this threat, we have developed an artificial neural network model that uses on-the-ground air-monitoring data and satellite-based measurements to estimate daily pollution levels dividing the country into 1-square-kilometer zones across the continental U.S. We have paired this information with health data contained in Medicare claims records from the last 12 years, which includes 97% of the population ages 65 or older. We also developed statistical methods for causal inference and computational efficient algorithms for the analysis of over 550 million health records.

The result? This data science platform is telling us that federal limits on the nation’s most widespread air pollutants are not stringent enough. Our research shows that short- and long-term exposure to air pollution is killing thousands of senior citizens each year.

Our research shows the critical new role of data science in public health and the associated methodological challenges. For example, with enormous amounts of data, the threat of unmeasured confounding bias is amplified, and causality is even harder to assess with observational studies. We will discuss these and other challenges.

Event Type



McKelvey School of Engineering


Science & Technology

Energy, Environmental & Chemical Engineering


Event Contact

Patty Kofron, pkofron@wustl.edu

Speaker Information

Dr. Francesca Dominici is Professor of Biostatistics at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Co-Director of the Data Science Initiative at Harvard University. She was recruited to the Harvard Chan School as a tenured Professor of Biostatistics in 2009. She was appointed Associate Dean of Information Technology in 2011 and Senior Associate Dean for Research in 2013.

[Host: Professor Randall Martin]*

*part of the 6th Annual Global Health Week, and is co-organized by the Department of Energy Environmental & Chemical Engineering, the Center for Aerosol Science and Engineering, the Global Health Center at the Institute for Public Health, and the Brown School.


Google Calendar iCal Outlook