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Ayat Abourashed


Track 7: Citizen science for surveillance


Eric van Gorp (EMC); Frederic Bartumeus (CEAB-CSIC)

Primary Supervisors

Laura Doornekamp; Santi Escartin-Peña


Erasmus Medical Centre (EMC), Centre for Advanced Studies of Blanes (CEAB-CSIC)


Description PhD project

My project focuses on using citizen science (CS) and digital epidemiology as a method for mosquito surveillance, identifying social determinants of disease prevention and control, and determining how to incorporate CS data in epidemiological models. I am also developing a CS program to have secondary school students use Mosquito Alert (a mobile application that allows citizens to send in photos and reports of mosquitoes, biting rates and breeding sites) across the Netherlands and Spain to collect surveillance data.

Before starting my PhD, I spent three years as a Biology and English teacher in the United States and Indonesia. Living in Indonesia inspired me to my complete a Master’s in infectious disease epidemiology. In addition, I worked at the Center for Epidemiological Studies on STIs/HIV/AIDS in Catalonia, where I investigated co-infections of opportunistic diseases with HIV across Spain. My background in education and analyzing large datasets has really shaped me for this PhD. My PhD is the perfect blend of novel surveillance methods and health education and promotion to really involve the public in the scientific process of disease outbreak monitoring, prevention and control.

Currently, I am producing prediction models using the crowdsourced data from Mosquito Alert and validating a questionnaire I co-created using psychometric analysis methods.

Publications PhD project

Abourashed A, Doornekamp L, Escartin S, Koenraadt CJM, Schrama M, Wagener M, Bartumeus F, van Gorp ECM. The Potential Role of School Citizen Science Programs in Infectious Disease Surveillance: A Critical Review. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Jun 30;18(13):7019. doi: 10.3390/ijerph18137019. PMID: 34209178; PMCID: PMC8297284.

Preusting LC, Raadsen MP, Abourashed A, Voeten HACM, Wagener MN, de Wit E, van Gorp ECM, Doornekamp L. COVID-19 related stigma and health-protective behaviours among adolescents in the Netherlands: An explorative study. PLoS One. 2021 Jun 22;16(6):e0253342. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0253342. PMID: 34157046; PMCID: PMC8219143.