Olaf Berke

Olaf Berke

Graduate Exam Coordinator | Associate Professor

MSc, PhD(Dortmund, Germany)
 Stewart Bldg. 2528
 519-824-4120 Ext. 58924

 Olaf Berke on ResearcGate



I am a statistical epidemiologist working in the area of veterinary epidemiology and biostatistics. In the Department of Population Medicine I am leading the Statistical Consulting Group.

Research Interests

My principal research interest is the advancement of statistical epidemiology for clustered data in the context of veterinary and public health sciences. I focus on spatial / geographical epidemiology, and also enjoy applications of biostatistics using time series analysis, disease surveillance, meta-analysis and survival time analysis. Respective methods find applications in many commodity groups: swine, dairy cows, sheep and goats as well as cats and humans. Zoonoses are of particular importance to me, incl. West Nile virus and Echinococcus multilocularis.

Recent graduate student projects investigated "scrapie in small ruminants", "effects of heat-waves on human and dairy health", "cat overpopulation", "the historic cholera epidemic in Ireland of 1849/50", and "private well water safety".

I am very interested in the History of Statistical Epidemiology, as well as its future: Data Science, Open Science and Reproducible Research.

Current Graduate Students

Current Students

  • Kurtis Sobkowich (PhD) Spatiotemporal surveillance of Varroa destructor in Ontario, Canada  
  • Armin Orang (PhD) Time Series and Machine Learning Models for Forecasting Seasonal Influenza
  • Britteny Kyle (PhD) American Fouldbrood in Honey Bees (Apis mellifera)
  • John Mallare (MSc) Exploration of COVID-19 morbidity and mortality in relation to air
    pollution associated with intensive livestock farming.
  • Thiyanna Jeyabalan (MSc) The COVID-19 Syndemic in Ontario – A Reflection of the Social-Economic Environment
  • James Houston (MSc) Historical Time Series Analysis of Dihtheria in Michigan

Recent Graduates

  • Xinyi Xu (MSc, graduated 2020) Forecasting Human Rabies Mortality in China Using Time Series Analysis and Machine Learning.
  • Sarah Chan (MSc, graduated 2020) Understanding and Forecasting Lyme Disease in Ontario Using Time Series Analysis and Machine Learning.
  • Inthuja Selvaratnam (MSc, graduated 2020) Disease Maps and Geographic Map Projections - A Simulation Study and Scoping Review
  • Russell Forrest (MSc, graduated 2020) Spatial and Temporal Epidemiology of Dirofilaria immitis Infection in dogs in Relation to Weather Parameters
  • Britteny Kyle (MSc, graduated 2021) Understanding control strategies and prevalence of American Foulbrood in Southwestern Ontario.
  • Maria Kutera (BSc, 2021) A Spatial Analysis of Lyme Disease in Southern Ontario


I am teaching mainlly in the graduate program, but also advise undergraduate students on their 4th year projects.

  • POPM*6290 - Epidemiology III (Fall semester)
  • POPM*6520 - Introduction to Epidemiological and Statistical Methods (Fall semester)
  • POPM*6960 - Systematic-Review and Meta-Analysis (Winter semester)
  • POPM*6950 - Health Sciences Analytics (Winter semester)
  • POPM*6950 - Geographical Epidemiology (Summer semester - on demand)
  • POPM*6950 - Network-Analysis (Summer semester - on demand)

Professional Experience & Honours

  • 1993 MSc (Diploma) in Statistics, Department of Statistics, University of Dortmund, Germany
  • 1998 PhD (Dr. rer. nat.), Department of Statistics, University of Dortmund, Germany
  • 1999-2007 Assistant Professor (Wissenschaftlicher Assistent), Department of Biometry, Epidemiology and Information Processing, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Germany
  • 2003 Assistant Professor of Statistical Epidemiology, Department of Population Medicine, University of Guelph
  • 2005 Habilitation, Venia legendi for Biometry and Epidemiology, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover
  • 2001 Gustav-Adolf-Lienert-Preis, German Region of the International Biometric Society
  • 2006 Tenured, University of Guelph
  • since 2009 Associate Professor of Statistical Epidemiology, University of Guelph
  • since 2009 Editorial Board Member of Preventive Veterinary Medicine
  • since 2010 Editorial Board Member BMC Veterinary Research
  • since 2018 Editorial Board Member Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation
  • 2015 - 2018 Chair: Senate Committee on Non-degree Studies (SCNS)

Selected Publications


  • Berke, O., Sobkowich, K., Bernardo, T.M. (2020) Celebration day: 400th birthday of John Graunt, citizen scientist of London. Environmental Health Review 63(3):67-69.
  • Berke, O., Trotz-Williams, L., de Montigny, S. (2020) Good times bad times: automated forecasting of seasonal cryptosporidiosis in Ontario using machine learning. Canada Communicable Disease Report 46(6):  192-197.
  • Berke, O. (2015) London Cholera Epidemic and Epidemiology. Trefil, J. (editor) Discoveries in Modern Science: Exploration, Invention, Technology. MacMillan Reference USA.
  • Berke, O. and Waller L. (2010) On the effect of diagnostic misclassification bias on the observed spatial pattern in regional count data - a case study using West Nile virus mortality data from Ontario, 2005. Spatial and Spatio-temporal Epidemiology 1:117-121.
  • Berke, O., Romig, T., von Keyserlingk, M. (2008) Emergence of Echinococcus multilocularis among red foxes in northern Germany, 1991-2005. Veterinary Parasitology 155: 319-322.
  • Berke, O. (2004). Exploratory disease mapping: kriging the spatial risk function from regional count data. International Journal of Health Geographics 3:18.
  • Berke, O. and große Beilage, E. (2003). Spatial relative risk mapping of pseudorabies-seropositive pig herds in an animal-dense region. Journal of Veterinary Medicine B 50:322-325.
  • Berke, O. (2001). Modified median polish kriging and its application to the Wolfcamp-Aquifer data. Environmetrics 12: 731-748.
  • Berke, O. (1998). On spatiotemporal prediction for online monitoring data. Communications in Statistics - Theory and Methods 27: 2343-2369.

Search PubMed for additional publications by Dr. Berke.