Because many human infectious diseases have other host species or free-living stages, their dynamics are shaped by the natural environment. We develop models for understanding the dynamics of infectious diseases, with a particular focus on integrating health systems with environmental interventions  for disease control.  Our projects include models of specific disease systems, such as Buruli ulcer (Andres Garchitorena), malaria (Calistus Ngonghala), and Zika virus (Murdock, Brindley, Mordecai).  In addition, we have recently begun building the following broader integrated research platforms:

  1. Understanding socio-economic and environmental drivers of disease in Madagascar with Tom Gillespie’s Lab (Emory, Centre ValBio).
  2.  Integrating new models with environmental interventions for human health with Giulio De Leo and Sanna Sokolow (Stanford Program for Disease Ecology, Health, and the Environment).
  3. With a new partnership with the Manu Prakash Lab (Stanford), we are building a field-based platform for validating and testing frugal science technologies for disease ecology.

Example, led by Andres Garchitorena, of how data and modeling are combined to generate new insights into causes of disease.  Our temporal and spatial models found that human Buruli ulcer in Akonolinga (Cameroon) are likely transmitted directly from the environment, not by water bugs, which has a been the leading alternative hypothesis.   (Garchitorena, et al 2015).

Selected Publications and Working Papers

  1. “Disease Ecology, Health and Environment: accounting for ecological and socio-economic feedbacks in the control of tropical diseases of the poor. Garchitorena, et al 2016.  in review
  2. “Socio-Economic Risk Factors for Pathogenic Enterobacteria Infection and Antibiotic Resistance in the Ranomafana Commune, Madagascar” Giordano et al. in prep.
  3. Interplay between insecticide-treated bed-nets and mosquito demography: implications for malaria control” Ngonghala et al. 2016 Journal of theoretical biology..
  4. Modeling environmental and water bug transmission dynamics of Mycobacterium ulcerans in Buruli ulcer endemic regions.”  Garchitorena et al 2015 Scientific Reports.
  5. Persistent oscillations and backward bifurcation in a malaria model with varying human and mosquito populations: implications for control.” Ngonghala et al. 2015 Journal of mathematical biology.

  6. Mycobacterium ulcerans dynamics in aquatic ecosystems are driven by a complex interplay of abiotic and biotic factors.” Garchitorena et al. 2015  Elife.

More of Our Work in Action in Ecology of Poverty