Scott Olesen

I am an epidemiologist, modeler, and multidisciplinary data scientist with experience in infectious disease, microbiome science, microbiology, antibiotic resistance, statistics, computing, and mathematical modeling. I have developed skill sets in facilitation, technical communication, and project management.

Work history

Starting December 2022, I joined the US CDC’s new Center for Forecasting and Outbreak Analytics via a contractor position with Leidos.

During 2021–2022, I was at Biobot Analytics, where I built the Epidemiology Group. The goal of that team is to connect wastewater-based data streams with public health actions. Biobot performs Covid-19 monitoring for places like Boston, MA. You can learn more by watching my career chat with Vivify Space Club!

During 2020–2021, I was a part-time Research Analyst in the Center for Public Health Preparedness and Resilience in the Institute for Public Research at CNA. CNA is a nonprofit research institute that provides objective analysis to Federal, state, and local government. At CNA, I helped advise the US Navy, Federal agencies, and state and city officials, especially on their Covid-19 responses.

As an independent epidemiological consultant with Dr. Yonatan Grad, I co-designed a model used to inform the design of the National Basketball Association’s “bubble” for the 2020 play-offs.

Before Covid-19, I was Scientific Director at OpenBiome, a non-profit stool bank based in Boston. OpenBiome provides material for fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) for use in treating C. difficile infection and for research.

Educational background

I did my postdoctoral training with Yonatan Grad at the Harvard Chan School of Public Health, where I focused on antimicrobial resistance, and my PhD with Eric Alm at MIT, where I worked in environmental microbiology, human microbiome science, and clinical trial design.

At MIT, I was a founding member of MIT’s Biological Engineering Communciation Lab, where I co-led the development of the first CommKit, a guide to communication tasks designed by scientists for scientists. I was also a founding member of the MIT Biological Engineering REFS, a peer-to-peer conflict management and mentoring program, and a Diversity Chair on the department’s graduate student board. During my postdoc I served as the President of the Harvard Chan Postdoc Association and served on the School’s Committee for Diversity and Inclusion.