My research interests are multidisciplinary and lie at the interface of Ecology, Spatial Epidemiology and Global Health. I base my research program on the notion that epidemiological outcomes (i.e., the occurrence of human or animal disease) are the result of intricate and complex interactions between hosts, pathogens, and natural or human-altered environments. My research system centers on vector-borne diseases (those transmitted by insects) such as dengue virus, West Nile virus and Chagas disease. Through field observations, experimentation and complex quantitative methods, my work aims to:
· Identify the major determinants of the transmission and geographic propagation of vector-borne diseases of global health significance.
· Quantify the contribution of the urban landscape to the patterns of disease occurrence and geographic spread.
· Study the ecology of the insect vectors and reservoir hosts, and the role of human and vector behavior in pathogen transmission dynamics.
· Apply such knowledge to improve public health policy.
My motivation for pursuing my research goals is inspired by the public health challenges our increasingly urbanized world is facing. The emergence of new vector-borne infectious diseases and their rapid and widespread propagation within urban populations (e.g., Zika virus) represents a significant challenge for global sustainable development, particularly in developing countries. I am inspired to see how my students (in my lab or in the classroom) respond to the notion that addressing a challenging problem for which no clear solutions have been devised can lead to fruitful scientific and societal rewards.
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