La Trobe COVID-19 Expert Alert

La Trobe has a number of experts available to speak to media on COVID-19.

Modelling the spread of infectious disease

Dr Joel Miller

La Trobe University applied mathematics lecturer, international expert on the modelling of infectious disease spread.

Topic: Predicting the spread of an infectious disease – including the impact of surveillance, social distancing and other interventions.

Has asked for interview requests via email:

Public health aspects of infectious disease

Associate Professor Hassan Vally

La Trobe University public health expert, epidemiologist experienced in analysing health data, infectious and chronic disease epidemiology.

Topic: Steps people can take to protect themselves from infection when travelling, at home or at work; self-isolation; the importance of clear public health messages.

Has asked for interview requests via email:

Employment pressures

Dr Darren O’Donovan

La Trobe University Senior Lecturer in Administrative Law

Topic: The impacts of COVID-19 on Centrelink and the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)

Contact details:, 0410 090 556

Human behaviour and threat response

Dr Mathew Marques

La Trobe University psychology lecturer, social psychology expert interested in uncertainty and threat response related to basic human motivations.

Topic: Why people have responded to coronavirus by stockpiling, insisting on testing etc; what drives panic or threat response and other human reactions to the virus; conspiracy theories around COVID-19.

Contact details:, (03) 9479 2024

Dr Matthew Ruby

La Trobe University psychology lecturer, interested in social psychology, emotional and physical wellbeing.

Topic: Adapting to new norms; how behaviour is shaped by others especially in uncertain situations; the importance of consistent messaging.

Contact details:, (02) 6024 9605

Positivity, resilience and wellbeing

Ms Ros Ben-Moshe

La Trobe University health promotion academic, laughter expert, author of “Laughing at cancer – How to Heal with Love, Laughter and Mindfulness”.

TopicDespite our collective adversity, how can we embrace a positive mindset to support resilience and wellbeing during the Coronavirus pandemic?

Contact details:, 0413 592 030


Associate Professor Jodi Oakman

La Trobe University public health and ergonomics expert, with an interest in the impact of work and organisations on employees' health.

Topic: Challenges and considerations with working from home, including time management, work space set-up/ergonomics, and lack of social interaction and exercise.

Contact details:, 0447 152 944


Mr Paul Strickland

La Trobe University lecturer in tourism, hospitality and event management

Topic: How COVID-19 is affecting Australia’s tourism and hospitality industries; the ‘silver lining’ for regional communities; impact of large event cancellations.

Contact details:, 0408 834 727

PHOTO: Wikicommons (NIAID-RML) - This transmission electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2—also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus that causes COVID-19—isolated from a patient in the U.S. Virus particles are shown emerging from the surface of cells cultured in the lab. The spikes on the outer edge of the virus particles give coronaviruses their name, crown-like.

Read COVID-19 opinions and expertise from La Trobe academics here