Research Interests


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I am a quantitative disease ecologist with broad interests in disease dynamics, wildlife health, and conservation.  My work combines host ecology or community ecology to understand infection dynamics. My main research interests include:

  • Disease dynamic consequences of co-infecting pathogens
  • Emerging infectious disease
  • Land use change and vector borne disease
  • Network and spatial models of diseases transmission
  • Wildlife health and population dynamics

About Me


I am a research scientist working with Colleen Webb at Colorado State University.  My current work investigates the national-scale spread of avian influenza in wild waterfowl.  Our work is in collaboration with scientists at the USDA and USGS.  I am enjoying working as a quantitative ecologist in this interdisciplinary team.

I completed my PhD in January 2014 with Anna Jolles at Oregon State University.  As a Ph.D. student, I studied bovine tuberculosis and brucellosis in African buffalo.  This work involved wildlife capture, laboratory based disease testing and immunological assays, and the development of a model to understand the consequences of co-infection on disease dynamics.

I conducted post-doctoral research in Colleen Webb's lab at Colorado State University and Jan Medlock's lab in the department of Biomedical Sciences at Oregon State University.  I worked as part of collaborative projects analyzing livestock shipment networks in the U.S. and foot-and-mouth disease persistence in both wildlife and livestock.  We used data-driven models to explore the consequences of host demography, immunity, and network structure on disease spread and persistence. 


Ongoing Projects


Land-use change and mosquito-borne infections

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Mosquito-borne infections remain a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in sub-Saharan Africa.  We are working with South African National Parks to study how human developments influence seasonal mosquito population dynamics and mosquito-borne disease risk.

 

 

 

Collaborators: Maarten Schrama, Danny Govender

 

Co-Infections in African buffalo

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Interactions between co-infecting pathogens are ubiquitous in wildlife populations. Recent research has shown that co-infecting pathogens can be the most important predictors of subsequent infections and that many interactions are mediated by the host immune response.  In this research, we explore the consequences of co-infection at many scales.   We use tools from both disease ecology and eco-immunology to study bovine tuberculosis and brucellosis in a free ranging population of African buffalo in Kruger National Park.  

Project PIs and Ph.D. advisors: Anna Jolles and Vanessa Ezenwa

Collaborators: Rampal Etienne, Roy Bengis, Brianna Beechler            

                                                            

U.S. Livestock Movement and Disease

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The application of network analysis to livestock shipments broadens our understanding of shipment patterns beyond pairwise interactions to the network as a whole.  Such a quantitative description of livestock shipments in the U.S. can identify trade communities, describe temporal shipment patterns, and inform the design of disease surveillance and control strategies.  This collaborative project uses data-driven models to study livestock shipments and how they influence disease spread. 

Project PIs and post-doc advisors: Colleen Webb, Uno Wennergren, Michael Tildesley

Collaborators: Michael BuhnerkempeAngela D. LuisLindsay M. Beck-Johnson, Daniel A. Grear, Ryan S. Miller, Katie Portacci