The mission of Complex Systems Approaches in Population Health (CSAPH) within the HumNat Lab — Laboratory for the Analysis, Modeling and Management of Complex Biological and Socio-technical Systems (”Natural-Human Systems”) — is to promote transdisciplinary research and foster community around systems science approaches in global public health among graduate students, faculty, and stakeholders at the University of Minnesota, and private sector/government/universities nationally and internationally. HumNat aims to accomplish this by advocating systems thinking, raising awareness of available resources, promoting application of those resources, and providing support for students and stakeholders interested in using quantitative analysis and dynamical system simulation approaches in their research. Complex system risk, resilience, uncertainty, ”decision” and sustainability are core concepts of investigation in the lab. Studies in HumNat aim to analyze big data, develop multiscale theoretical and computational models for understanding and managing coupled human-natural systems, apply models for solving real-world issues, and communicating research findings to stakeholders via scientific publications and artistic forms.
Current focus areas are modeling waterborne diseases (e.g. cholera) in large-scale ecosystems, foodborne diseases and food supply chain models, occupational health infrastructure, one-health issues (e.g. avian influenza), and aesthetic computing. Models (virtual systems) used in the HumNat are multiscale, multiobjective, and modular agent-based models, network models, global sensitivity and uncertainty analyses models, portfolio management models, and other models according to needs and objectives of the question at hand. HumNat is constantly engaged into development of new models and theories, combinations of pre-existing ones and use of available theories and models to other fields for exciting discoveries and applications.