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Macroecology of Infectious Disease

Lead Scientist(s): Dr. Barbara A. Han

Zoonotic diseases are distributed across space, time, and species. Our lab focuses on answering outstanding 'who, what, where' questions about zoonotic diseases. Where are zoonotic reservoirs currently distributed, and where are their hotspots and coldspots? What particular species pose the greatest spillover risk to humans? When do zoonotic disease threats grow and when do they diminish? We pursue these questions with two goals:

  1. to inform global health preparedness and improve ecologically comprehensive disease management
  2. to draw out mechanistic hypotheses about the outbreak and emergence process from empirical data.

Some active projects include spatiotemporal risk modeling to understand the emergence ecology of Ebola and related filoviruses; identifying wild reservoirs to prevent long-term endemicity of Zika virus in the Americas; predicting novel tick vectors and understanding why some ticks are better than others at transmitting zoonoses; an NSF EEID funded project investigating the assembly and interaction of viromes found within a widespread mouse reservoir and a widespread tick vector to explore how viromes influence pathogen transmission; a second NSF EEID funded project to understand global trait patterns of zoonotic diseases across mammal groups and the consequences of these host traits for disease dynamics in host populations; a multinational DARPA funded project to understand drivers of henipavirus shedding and to develop therapeutic interventions for spillover prevention in bats.