Kevin J. Olival
Dr. Kevin J. Olival is an ecologist and evolutionary biologist with an interest in emerging infectious diseases and conservation. Kevin's role as senior research scientist at EcoHealth Alliance allows him to focus on integrating evolutionary and ecological theories to better understand the underlying drivers of disease emergence. Specifically, he continues to work on the emergence and ecology of Nipah virus; novel pathogen discovery from bats; predicting the 'unknown' diversity and host-specific patterns of zoonotic pathogens; and developing appropriate policy interventions to prevent the emergence of novel zoonoses. Kevin has unique skills in both the field and laboratory that include ecological techniques to capture and survey bats, experience with satellite telemetry of wildlife, molecular biology, population genetic and phylogenetic analyses, and molecular evolution.
"Our activities take us to the farthest reaches of the planet, studying and sampling wildlife, to monitor their health and draw linkages between humans, animals, and ecosystems. In particular, my work with bats strives to both conserve these ecologically and economically beneficial animals and understand their role in the emergence of diseases that affect humans." - Dr. Kevin Olival
Kevin graduated with distinction from Columbia University in 2008 with a Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and a M.A. in Conservation Biology. His dissertation research focused on the population genetics and geographic distributions of large fruit bats in Southeast Asia, with implications for Nipah virus dynamics and emergence. Kevin has conducted month-long expeditions to Southeast Asia doing fieldwork and managing projects working with local scientists and NGOs.
Kevin recently completed a prestigious two-year NIH Fogarty U.S. Global Health Postdoctoral fellowship expanding EcoHealth Alliance's work on the ecology of Nipah virus in Bangladesh. Kevin has a passion for turning rigorous science into effective public policy, and aims to keep this as a central goal of his career development.