Staff & Leadership

Justin Lessler, PhD

Justin Lessler, PhD - Photo


Associate Professor
Department of Epidemiology, Bloomberg School of Public Health
The Johns Hopkins University

Research interests

Justin Lessler is an associate professor in the department of epidemiology researching the dynamics and control of infectious disease. His work includes development and application of novel methods to understand the geographic spread of HIV and other infectious diseases, field studies to understand disease transmission, and implementation of dynamic models to inform health policy.

Methods of expertise

Computational modeling, biostatistics, spatial analyses

Services available to CFAR investigators

HIV mapping, estimation of disease risk, strategic and inferential modeling

Sample Research


  1. HIV Incidence, Transmission Dynamics and Combination HIV Prevention: Rakai Uganda

    The goal of the proposed research is to assess whether targeted CHP in hotspots is likely to reduce transmission in the larger general populations. The findings will inform strategies for HIV prevention in rural SSA.
  2. Influenza Immunity and Survival in Aging Populations

    Recent studies suggest that the oldest individuals, with a lifetime of influenza exposure behind them, have elevated antibody titers to influenza across strains. This study aims to understand how and why this increase in antibody titers occurs, and what role survival effects, patterns of infection and the biology of the immune response play in creating patterns of immunity over a lifetime of influenza exposure.
  3. Continued and Expanded Cholera Modeling Efforts

    This project aims to use mathematical and computational modeling to provide essential guidance for the optimal use of oral cholera vaccines (OCV) as the vaccine supply expands, including important information on when the vaccine can be used to the greatest effect, who should be targeted when the vaccine is used, and the potential public


  1. Chang LW, Grabowski MK, Ssekubugu R, Nalugoda F, Kigozi G, Nantume B, Lessler J, Moore S, Quinn TC, Reynolds SJ, Gray RH, Serwadda D, Wawer MJ (2016) Heterogeneity of the HIV epidemic in agrarian, trading, and fishing communities in Rakai, Uganda: an observational epidemiological study. Lancet HIV. 3: e388–96 doi:10.1016/S2352-3018(16)30034-0
  2. Grabowski MK, Lessler J, Redd AD, Kagaayi J, Laeyendecker O, et al. (2014) The Role of Viral Introductions in Sustaining Community-Based HIV Epidemics in Rural Uganda: Evidence from Spatial Clustering, Phylogenetics, and Egocentric Transmission Models. PLoS Med 11(3): e1001610. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed
  3. Lessler J, Cummings, DAT (2016) Mechanistic Models of Infectious Disease and their Impact on Public Health. Am J. Epidemiol. 183(5): 415-422. doi:10.1093/aje/kww021
  4. Lessler J , Salje H, Grabowski MK, Cummings, DAT (2016) Measuring Spatial Dependence for Infectious Disease Epidemiology. PLoS ONE 11(5):e0155249. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0155249
  5. Tobian AA, Kigozi G, Manucci J, Grabowski MK, Serwadda D, Musoke R, Redd AD, Nalugoda F, Reynolds SJ, Kighoma N, Laeyendecker O, Lessler J, Gray RH, Quinn TC, Wawer MJ; Rakai Health Sciences Program. (2015) HIV Shedding from Male Circumcision Wounds in HIV-Infected Men: A Prospective Cohort Study. PLoS Med. 12: e1001820 doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1001820