Sebin Gracy brings new insights into the mathematics of infectious diseases

“In the future, I plan on devising mathematical models for epidemic spread in non-traditional settings”

Sebin Gracy

Sebin Gracy is a Rice Academy Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) at Rice. He was previously a postdoctoral researcher in the Division of Decision and Control Systems in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at KTH Royal Institute of Technology. Gracy earned his Ph.D. in automatic control in 2018 from the Université Grenoble Alpes in Grenoble, France, and his M.S. from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Gracy’s research focuses on how various processes spread in networks, how these processes can be affected to obtain desired outcomes, and on designing algorithms to estimate the degree to which populations are exposed to a spreading process. His goal is to deepen fundamental knowledge of networked dynamical systems.

The main application is understanding the spread of infectious diseases. He hopes to aid effective decision making and policy design in epidemic scenarios. His work can also be applied to the security of cyber-physical systems.

“My work,” he said, “aims to devise effective disease-mitigation strategies and propose algorithms for inferring how the spread of a disease has evolved in a community. It can also be applied to the spread of opinions in social networks, like competing political ideas during election cycles, and product adoption in a marketplace."

Mathematical models have been used before to understand the spread of disease and control-measures, but Gracy hopes to further develop innovative models that factor in less traditional settings.

“I plan to devise models for epidemic spread in non-traditional settings,” he said, “such as accounting for the effect of opinions of individuals on the spread of a disease. Given the abundance of public health-related data, by exploiting the latest advancements in learning theory I aim to come up with the control laws for epidemic containment based on public health data.”

Gracy joined the department in March 2022 largely because of César Uribe, the Louis Owen Assistant Professor of ECE. He suspected Uribe would serve as an excellent mentor. “Given that he was on the faculty job market very recently, and I am on the faculty job market this cycle, his experience and advice in navigating the vagaries of that market would be quite useful to me,” he said.