​Infectious Diseases

Infectious zoonotic diseases–those that can spread between animals and humans–play an enormous role in public health. Our research explores the links between biodiversity, genetic diversity, and socio-economic factors and disease transmission. We use these scientific findings to generate mathematical models that improve our ability to predict when and how diseases will jump from animals to humans–and how to prevent or mitigate those diseases. We’ve researched high profile diseases like Ebola, Zika, and West Nile, as well as less well-known pathogens like monkey pox, avian flu, and avian malaria.


avian malaria

Avian Malaria

Malaria parasites use vertebrate hosts for the asexual stages of their life cycle and Dipteran vectors for both the sexual and asexual development, but the literature on avian malaria parasites remains biased towards bird-parasite associations. Our work samples vectors/birds to provide information about status of infection of both host and vector.



The Center for Tropical Research is investigating what may be the environmental drivers of infectious diseases, and what might trigger outbreaks during particular times or conditions. In collaboration with Dr. Rick Schoenberg, chair of the the Department of Statistics at UCLA, our team is using novel models to understand ebola outbreaks.

west nile virus

West Nile Virus

West Nile virus (WNV) has spread rapidly in North America, threatening wildlife and posing serious health risks to humans. In order to better understand how the distribution of WNV will further impact populations, we model the incidence of WNV infections under current conditions, and use these to predict where the disease may occur in the future.