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Ph.D., Population, Health and Place, University of Southern California
M.S., Civil Engineering, University of Rhode Island
B.A., German, University of Rhode Island
B.S., Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Rhode Island

For Dr. Emily Serman, coming into the field of infectious disease epidemiology from engineering has been an exciting journey that has helped her to cultivate a passion for interdisciplinary research. She has a broad interest in infectious disease epidemiology and the impacts of place, socioeconomic status, and environment on disease transmission.

Her dissertation research at USC addressed the role of humidity in the onset of seasonal influenza epidemics, demographic trends in influenza hospitalizations and emergency department visits, as well as the combined effect of humidity, demographics, socioeconomic status and space on influenza outbreaks. This work was supported by her dissertation committee members: Dr. Jennifer Ailshire, Dr. Meredith Franklin, Dr. Eileen Crimmins, Dr. Prabhu Gounder, and Dr. Darren Ruddell.

During her time at USC, Dr. Serman was selected by an interdisciplinary panel of faculty for a Graduate School Research Enhancement Fellowship based on the quality and potential of her proposed dissertation research. Her first dissertation chapter, the result of a collaboration with scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, was published in the American Geophysical Union’s peer-reviewed journal GeoHealth and received media attention from local and national outlets. In addition, she was selected as a Fulbright Fellowship semi-finalist for work she proposed with Dr. Kirsty Short at the University of Queensland comparing historic influenza pandemics with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition to her dissertation research, she worked closely with Dr. Jennifer Ailshire, and PHP colleagues Rachel Wilke and Kate Vavra-Musser to explore the intersection of climate change and aging. She co-presented results from this project at the Los Angeles Geospatial Summit and the annual meeting of the American Association of Geographers (AAG) and will soon submit this work for peer-review.


Serman, E., Thrastarson, H. Th., Franklin, M., Teixeira, J. (2021), Spatial Variation in Humidity and the Onset of Seasonal Influenza Across the Contiguous United StatesGeoHealth (December 2021).

Puggioni, G., Couret, N., Serman, E., Akanda, A.S., Ginsberg, H. (2020) Spatiotemporal Modeling of Dengue Fever in Puerto RicoSpatial and Spatio-temporal Epidemiology, Vol. 35.