Nicholas 'Nico' Preston is a senior research scientist at EcoHealth Alliance working at the intersection of ecology, computing, and health. Nico's specialty is computational disease ecology, a field that uses multiple computer networks and datasets to build ecological and disease models. By combining emerging web technologies with cloud computing, Nico is able to build complex computer models in a more rapid, thorough, and exhaustive manner than was previously possible. Nico is also exploring large datasets for signals in field data and global media that suggest a new disease, pathogen, or environmental risk. Using these tools, Nico is able to model global ecosystems in order to understand how they change with human impacts.
"My work at EHA unravels patterns in data to better understand the relationship between global ecosystems and human health. This, in turn, helps us set priorities for conservation and disease surveillance." - Nicolas Preston
Nico's doctoral training was in ecosystem ecology at University of Wisconsin's Madison Center for Limnology and his postdoctoral work in global health informatics was at University of Wisconsin's Madison Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment. Nico recently designed and developed dotSkapes, a virtual laboratory that leverages emerging web technology to facilitate collaborative global environmental health research.