James Schlitt, MPH

Computational Epidemiologist
Graduate Research Assistant
Network Dynamics & Simulation Science Laboratory
Biocomplexity Institute of Virginia Tech
Email: jschlitt@vbi.vt.edu

Office: Steger Hall
My CV: JamesSchlitt, MPH


About Me

I graduated in 2007 from Old Dominion University with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry, Biochemistry, and Biology. While studying at ODU, I developed a compartmental SEIR model in C++ to study multi-strain, multi-population HPV transmission and to evaluate the effectiveness of novel vaccine interventions with regards to student relationship dynamics and abiotic synergy cofactors. For this work I was awarded the Gene Newman Award for Excellence In Medical Modeling and Simulation Research at the 2007 VMASC Capstone Conference.

Following a couple years break in industry, I am currently pursuing a PhD in Genetics, Bioinformatics, and Computational Biology at the Network Dynamics and Simulation Science Laboratory of the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute. My research topics include the optimization of military pandemic response sequences via agent based stochastic modeling, the development of web enabled front and back ends for collaborative research, stochastic search optimization of geographic allocation problems, and the detection of emerging pandemics via social media surveillance.




Firearm Violence Tracker search for Firsthand Accounts, 2715 Related Tweets Found from 2014-08-19 01:41:15+00:00 to 2014-09-01 07:00:14+00:00

ChatterGrabber is an open source twitter surveillance toolkit designed to aid epidemiologists in tracking regional twitter data. ChatterGrabber uses natural language processing to train classifiers automatically sort tweets by subjects of interest. ChatterGrabber generates nightly data reports containing csv tables, maps, time series, day and hour histograms, and wordclouds and emails them to subscribers.



Tidewater 100 year flood scenario with six resource allocation.

MapOptimizer is location allocation algorithm built to assist in the 2014 West Africa Ebola Epidemic response. MapOptimizer uses a simulated annealing algorithm to iteratively improve resource allocation to reduce travel time to or by the population. Test applications include the allocation of Ebola Treatment Units (ETUs) in the Liberia scenario and the allocation of hurricane disaster relief shelters in the Tidewater scenario.



Tidewater synthetic population vector flows

EpiGrind is an open source metapopulation patch model written in python for interaction via Jupyter notebooks. EpiGrind implements core model functions via python metaprogramming, allowing an inbuilt machine learning algorithm to modify models on the fly to explore novel dynamics.



  • Schlitt, J. T., Lewis, B., & Eubank, S. (2015). ChatterGrabber: A Lightweight Easy to Use Social Media Surveillance Toolkit. Online journal of public health informatics, 7(1).
  • Schlitt, J. T., Lewis, B., & Eubank, S. (2015). Social Media in disease surveillance and epidemiology research using Chatter Grabber (Workshop). American College of Epidemiology



  • Blacksburg Volunteer Medical Squad
    • Emeregency Medical Technician | 8/2013 – 9/2014
  • South West Virginia Mountain Rescue Group
    • Call Out Qualified Member | 3/2014 – 2/2017
    • Field Team Member | 3/2017 – present
    • Recruiting and Retention Sergeant | 1/2017 – 12/2017
  • Team Rubicon USA
    • Kickass Civilian | 12/2016 – present
  • Appalachian Long Distance Hikers Association – Search and Rescue
    • Volunteer Searcher | 12/2016 – present