Population Biology & Ecology of Infectious Diseases
My group’s research unites theory and empirical work to address basic and applied questions in population biology including the ecology of infectious diseases, evolution, climate, behavior, genetics, and conservation, and I would be excited to develop collaborations and advise graduate students on these topics. A key aim in our disease ecology studies is to understand the underlying drivers of pathogen transmission and the impacts on host populations. Our lab’s general research philosophy is to begin each project by developing a mathematical model of the system to generate hypotheses and then test these hypotheses by gathering empirical data. Our current research in disease ecology can be divided into two general areas: 1) Local drivers of pathogen transmission, including land use, host community composition, and climate, 2) The impact of disease on animal populations, and host responses, including the evolution of resistance and tolerance. We work on several pathogen systems including white-nose syndrome in bats, West Nile virus, avian malaria in Hawaiian birds, Lyme disease, chytridiomycosis in amphibians, Nipah virus in Bangladesh, and avian influenza. We also work on a number of projects on basic population biology and species interactions, including drivers of elephant seal, mosquito, and Weddell seal populations and predator-prey relationships.