I am interested in the ecology and evolution of infectious diseases in wildlife, with special interest in primates and other mammals. In addition to addressing basic questions about wildlife diseases, my research has application to understanding zoonotic disease risk and the conservation of biodiversity. Many of my research projects involve large-scale informatics datasets on mammalian parasites, with the aim to understand patterns of disease risk in natural systems and at the human-wildlife interface. I also model the spread of infectious agents in wild populations, including heterogeneities in contact structure based on knowledge of primate behavior and ecology.
More recently, I am developing projects on ecological networks, including original fieldwork in Madagascar on insect vectors and the agents they transmit to mammals in disturbed and undisturbed environments. I am excited to be teaching two courses through DGHI and my home department - Evolutionary Anthropology - including courses that consider the role of infectious disease in human evolution and in today's world.
Human Health in Evolutionary Perspective
Crosslisted as GLHLTH 304
Covers evolutionary approaches to understand human health at a global scale. Integration of evolutionary thinking and medical science provides new insights to a wide array of medical issues including obesity, cancer, allergies, and mental illness. Evolutionary perspectives reveal why some pathogens are more harmful than others, shed light on the origins and spread of infectious diseases in humans, and help in controlling antibiotic resistance. Evolutionary approaches provide insights as to why we age and provide solutions to alleviate human health problems that often differ from modern medical practice. Course will place these perspectives in the context of global health challenges.
Primate Disease Ecology and Global Health
Crosslisted as GLHLTH 315D
Covers concepts of disease ecology, with specific application to primates, human evolution, and global health. Explores the epidemiology and evolution of infectious diseases through the primary literature, focusing on infectious diseases of wild primates, humans, and other mammals. Students learn about the diversity of infectious diseases found in humans, and the basics of epidemiology, disease evolution and emergence, and primate behavioral ecology. Students also gain experience in thinking critically about scientific research, identifying interesting research questions, and communicating science to others. Prerequisite: EVANTH 101/101D or Introductory-level biology.