Biothreat detection system co-designed by Prof. Daniel B. Neill garners DHS prize

NYU Wagner Associate Professor of Computer Science and Public Service Daniel B. Neill is the co-recipient of a $50,000 runner-up prize given by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T)  for the design an early warning system to keep communities safe by using existing data sources to uncover emerging biothreats.

Neill's solution, with Mallory Nobles of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania—called Pre-syndromic Surveillance—integrates emergency department chief complaints with data from health clinics and social media to discover outbreaks that do not correspond with known illnesses. The team is piloting a working prototype with New York City's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and other city agencies.

The winners of the DHS S&T Biothreat Prize competition were announced May 30. The prizes were issued in collaboration with the Office of Health Affairs National Biosurveillance Integration Center (NBIC).