Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, from its first reported cases to today, public health authorities and researchers, as well as residents across the country, have turned to Johns Hopkins’s interactive web-based dashboard to track outbreaks across the world.
The tool, which first debuted in January 2020 and continues to be cited by major media outlets, is the creation of Lauren Gardner, an associate professor at Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering. The dashboard was created in one day by Gardner and graduate student Ensheng Dong when they noticed a void in tracking the virus’s global movement. As lockdowns loomed in early March, the site saw web traffic reach more than half a billion clicks a day.
The dashboard, which follows the virus in 188 countries, became the central feature of the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, which worked to expand the data and analysis to help better inform public agencies and residents. For her and her team’s efforts, Gardner was named one of Time Magazine’s Most Influential People in the World in 2020.
A co-director of the University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering, Gardner earned three degrees from the University of Texas at Austin — a bachelor’s in architectural engineering, a master’s in civil engineering and a doctorate in transportation engineering.
As a lecturer at the University of New South Wales in Australia in the past decade, Gardner researched how people and things traveling across the globe can spread infectious diseases. She also served as a research fellow for the Australian government.
After returning to the United States and coming to Johns Hopkins, she studied where measle outbreaks were most likely to occur by county throughout the nation.