Eco-epidemiology of vector-borne diseases: vector-host-parasite interactions in space and time

Gabriel Hamer

 3:00PM, 3503 Thomas Hall

05/26/2011

 

Vector-borne diseases that affect the health of humans, wildlife, and domestic animals are emerging at unprecedented rates. Innovative research and effective surveillance activities are necessary to identify aspects of natural disease cycles that can be targeted with management interventions to reduce disease risk. In this seminar, I will share my experience studying the eco-epidemiology of vector-borne diseases using West Nile virus (WNV) as a study system.    Highlights of my multi-disciplinary research over the past six years include the identification of key vector and reservoir host species that interact to amplify the virus, and elucidation of how movement patterns of these species facilitate transmission. My current work has detected a suite of parasites that co-circulate with WNV, and I will present hypotheses on how these parasites may interact - directly or indirectly - to increase or decrease transmission and sculpt global patterns of disease. I will also discuss a new project investigating mosquito production and dispersal in Puerto Rico, which has broad implications for reduction of risk of human infection with dengue virus . I will conclude my presentation with my vision for how my research, teaching, and service goals will synergize with NCSU's strong program to predict disease emergence and reduce disease risk across local to global scales.