Dr. Cadhla Firth

Senior Research Scientist and Program Coordinator

"The links between human health, animal health, and the health of the planet have never been clearer. My work uses a multi-disciplinary approach to tackle problems related to zoonotic disease emergence at the interface of people, animals, and the environment."

Scientists Bio

Dr. Cadhla Firth is a Senior Research Scientist and Program Coordinator at EcoHealth Alliance with a focus on zoonotic and emerging diseases in Southeast Asia. Her research explores the ecological and evolutionary dynamics of emerging zoonoses at the human-animal interface, with a focus on rapidly changing environments. Additionally, she has a strong track record in the use of genetic and genomic data to explore the transmission dynamics of emerging pathogens, her research has focused on many aspects of infectious disease emergence. These include evolutionary biology, molecular ecology, virology, pathogen genetics and genomics, field biology, and public/veterinary health. Cadhla is strongly committed to supporting diversity, inclusivity, and equity within the scientific community, and has led or participated in several initiatives aimed at improving science education and health service delivery for underserved communities.

Cadhla earned a BSc and MSc in Zoology from the University of Guelph (Canada), and a Ph.D. from The Pennsylvania State University on emerging viral diseases, which she defended in 2010. After completing a postdoctoral fellowship at Columbia University in 2013, she moved to Australia to work as a Research Scientist in Health and Biosecurity at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). There, Cadhla undertook a prestigious three-year Australian Research Council fellowship to investigate the response of zoonotic pathogens to urbanization in Malaysian Borneo using metagenomics, landscape ecology, and population genomics.

Prior to her current position at EcoHealth Alliance, Cadhla was a HOT North Career Development Fellow at the Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine at James Cook University in tropical Cairns, where she worked to improve infectious disease detection and diagnosis using genomics in rural and remote regions of northern Australia.