Dr. Anne Laudisoit Named 2019 National Geographic Explorer

NEW YORK – September 23, 2019 – EcoHealth Alliance Senior Scientist Dr. Anne Laudisoit is among the latest slate of National Geographic Explorers. The grant, funded by the National Geographic Society, allows Dr. Laudisoit to continue her study of a previously undocumented population of Eastern chimpanzees in northeast Democratic Republic of the Congo. Dr. Laudisoit’s work will look at the chimpanzees’ habits, their environment, and interactions with the people living nearby. It’s the perfect encapsulation of the One Health principle that drives EcoHealth Alliance, a nonprofit working at the intersection of animal, environmental, and human health on a global scale.

“It is such an honor to be a member of this esteemed group,” Dr. Laudisoit said. “And I can’t wait to get to work. This colony of chimpanzees was until recently completely unknown in the scientific community at large and their sheer existence could have major implications in the realms of public health, conservation, and anthropology.”

The National Geographic Society grant will fund one year of Dr. Laudisoit’s work, during which she intends to visit the Democratic Republic of Congo for two extended trips. As she documents the chimpanzees through camera traps, she’ll be able to collect information on other local, threatened species like the red colobus and pangolin as well.

Dr. Laudisoit discovered the chimpanzees in Ituri province, DRC almost by accident in 2015. A return expedition in 2017 was captured by film crews for the documentary Mbudha, named for a stream off Lake Albert which is called the “water of chimpanzees” in Kibale. Political instability makes conducting research in northeastern DRC difficult, but Dr. Laudisoit’s local connections and dedication make her uniquely qualified to draw attention to the biodiversity which merits protection in the region.

“Anne’s is the true spirit of an explorer,” EcoHealth Alliance President Dr. Peter Daszak said. “Her work provides a unique angle to the research we do at EcoHealth Alliance and the National Geographic Society makes for an excellent partner in her particularly adventurous brand of conservation.”

Dr. Laudisoit has spent extensive time in Africa and Central Asia. Her previous work includes studying diseases impacting both humans and animals such as plague, monkeypox, Rickettsia, Bartonella, and onchocerciasis-associated epilepsy.

About EcoHealth Alliance:
Building on 45 years of groundbreaking science, EcoHealth Alliance is the premier nonprofit organization committed to a One Health approach to track the migration of deadly viruses from animals into humans. EcoHealth Alliance research has led to major breakthroughs on the origins and spread of new and emerging diseases like Ebola, SARS, MERS, and Nipah virus. EcoHealth Alliance works globally in hotspot regions where the threat of outbreaks is highest. Through innovations in research, training, capacity building, and policy initiatives, we develop tools and interventions to prevent pandemics and promote conservation.
Press contact: Robert Kessler, (646) 868-4711 or kessler@ecohealthalliance.org.