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Lead Research Scholar

Sherry Towers


Sherry Towers, PhD, MS, is a Research Scholar with the Regenstrief Center. In this role, she works on interdisciplinary quantitative research in public health and epidemiology, applying her skill set in data science, visual analytics, and computational modeling. 

As both an academic and a consultant, Sherry has worked on a broad array of research topics in public health and the social sciences, including disease modeling, crime and violence risk analyses, and other topics in applied modelling in the social and life sciences, with over 360 publications on a wide variety of subjects. Her unique trans-disciplinary skill set enables her to examine an extensive range of research questions that are often of broad interest and importance to policy makers, industry, and the general public.

Her work has often been high impact, including an analysis of how media can incite panic in a population during an emerging infectious disease outbreak, and how contagion may play a role in the temporal patterns observed in mass killings in the US. The latter work has received extensive media coverage, including on BBC, CNN, NBC, CBS, FOX, NPR, Reuters, USA Today, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, Christian Science Monitor, Newsweek, The Atlantic, The Telegraph, The Guardian, Vox, and many other local, national, and international news agencies. The study was also profiled in Season 8, Episode 4 of Morgan Freeman’s Through the Wormhole documentary series on the Discovery Channel in 2017, “Is Gun Crime a Virus?”

Several of her publications in computational epidemiology have also received widespread international media attention, including forecasts for the progression of the 2009 influenza pandemic, and the 2014 Ebola epidemic in West Africa. Both analyses correctly forecast the progression of the epidemics, and her forecast for the 2009 pandemic was discussed in a special US Senate meeting on October 23, 2009 H1N1 Flu: Monitoring the Nation’s response.  In addition to being the founder and CEO of her data science consulting company, Towers Consulting, LLC, Sherry has also been Affiliated Research Faculty at Arizona State University, and a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies in Germany.  She maintains a website related to her research interests and past teaching at www.sherrytowers.com

She has a PhD in physics from Carleton University (2000), and a masters in applied statistics from Purdue University (2010).

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