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Meet Our Experts

Kate Smith

Consulting Senior Scientist

Kate Smith

Conservation medicine, public health, environmental policy and global ecology are major influences in Kate Smith's scientific research.
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Emerging Disease Hotspots

EcoHealth Alliance (formerly Wildlife Trust) is working to discover emerging diseases using a first-of-its kind predictive map of disease hot spots. EcoHealth Alliance scientists uncovered the specific factors that make a region predisposed to disease emergence by collecting data on outbreaks over the past 50 years. By identifying potential infectious disease threats, we can protect both public and environmental health.

As the leading cause of human fatalities worldwide, infectious diseases lead to the deaths of 13 million people per year. Additionally, over three-quarters of emerging infectious diseases (EIDs) are a result of zoonotic pathogens (i.e. originating from wild or domestic animals and spreading to humans). EcoHealth Alliance scientists are actively working in many countries to identify potential infectious disease threats through viral discovery.

For example, Bangladesh is a veritable pressure cooker for disease emergence, with its vast array of biodiversity and its exceptionally high population growth rate.  Our focus includes diseases such as Chikungunya and Rift Valley fever — both mosquito-borne viruses. Chikungunya has had several periodic epidemics in Africa, India, and Southeast Asia.  As the virus strain mutates, the threat of an epidemic rises. Rift Valley fever is lethal in cattle and many virologists predict it will be the next major emerging disease to cause significant economic costs.

EcoHealth Alliance employs a quantitative risk analysis strategy using data from a range of sources: global human travel, livestock and wildlife trade, and natural animal migration.  Our organization is uniquely poised to fill this analytical gap, which has been left open by U.S. and international government agencies.

EcoHealth Alliance scientists are on the front lines of disease emergence and discovery. In Malaysia and China we are testing people and wildlife for new and potentially dangerous viruses. Hunting wild animals for food brings people into close contact with a multitude of species and a vast number of potential new diseases.  Working with the Global Viral Forecasting Initiative, EcoHealth Alliance is studying the risk of viral emergence in highly exposed groups of people.

Our goal for this program includes:

  • Setting research priorities in global disease hotspots
  • Identifying new disease emergence and drivers
  • Creating proactive preventative measures and disease forecasting
  • Studying the interactions between humans and wildlifeBuilding predictive models to anticipate future emergence of unknown zoonoses

Experts

Parviez Hosseini

Parviez Hosseini

Senior Research Fellow
BS, Applied Math and Biology
PhD, Biological Sciences

Peter Daszak

Peter Daszak

President & Disease Ecologist
PhD, Parasitology

Jonathan H. Epstein

Jonathan H. Epstein

Associate Vice President
DVM, MPH, cert. International Veterinary Medicine

Kevin J. Olival

Kevin J. Olival

Senior Research Scientist
NIH Fogarty U.S. Global Health Postdoctoral Scientist
MA, Conservation Biology
PhD, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Tom Hughes

Tom Hughes

Malaysian Project Coordinator
PREDICT Program Coordinator
BS, Development Studies and Natural Resources

Tiffany Bogich

Tiffany Bogich

Senior Research Fellow
BS, Mathematics
MS, Ecology
PhD, Zoology

Alessandra Nava

Alessandra Nava

Consulting Senior Scientist
DVM, PhD, Epidemiology

Carlos Zambrana-Torrelio

Carlos Zambrana-Torrelio

Research Scientist
M.Sc. in Biology
B.Sc. in Biology

Melinda Rostal

Melinda Rostal

Senior Research Scientist and Field Veterinarian
BA, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
MA, Public Health
DVM

Elizabeth Loh

Elizabeth Loh

Research Scientist
BS, Biological Anthropology and Spanish
MS, Conservation Biology

Simon Anthony

Simon Anthony

Post-Doctoral Fellow in Pathogen Discovery

PhD, Molecular Virology

Ariful Islam

Ariful Islam

Field Veterinarian

DVM, MS in Pharmacology
MPH, Epidemiology

Nicholas Preston

Nicholas Preston

Director of Data Science and Research Technology
PhD, Limnology & Marine Science
BSc, Biological Sciences

Publications

Global trends in emerging infectious diseases

Emerging infectious diseases (EIDs) are a significant burden on global economies and public health. Their emergence is thought to be driven largely by socio-economic, environmental and ecological factors, but no comparative study has explicitly analyzed these linkages to understand global temporal and spatial patterns of EIDs.

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