Dr. Leticia Gutiérrez Jiménez
Field Veterinarian – Disease Ecologist
"One Health is fundamental to understanding the transmission of diseases and the risk factors that cause disease outbreaks. When epidemiology meets disease ecology, it is possible to understand the intricate matrix of interactions among all the players involved in a particular disease—environment, wildlife, domestic animals, and humans. Working with wildlife and local communities allows me to altogether improve their wellbeing and promote ecosystemic conservation."
Dr. Leticia Gutiérrez Jiménez, field veterinarian and disease ecologist for the PREDICT-2 program at EcoHealth Alliance, is responsible for implementing field-based research under a variety of global programs related to emerging disease, wildlife trade, and pandemic risk reduction. Her work directly tackles a paramount goal in public health: a holistic approach to zoonotic disease prevention, or ‘One Health.’ Fundamentally, Dr. Gutiérrez Jiménez is devoted to biological surveillance and research related to zoonotic pathogens in wildlife, livestock, and human populations.
Dr. Gutiérrez Jiménez earned a Bachelor of Science in Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences and a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Chile. Her DVM thesis aimed at identifying the vector of Hepatozoon spp. in the endemic marsupial Dromiciops gliroides at Chiloé Island, Chile.
Immediately after receiving her veterinary degree, she was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to pursue a Ph.D. of Biology in Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics with an emphasis on infectious disease ecology at the University of Missouri – St. Louis. Her doctorate dissertation, entitled: “Anthropogenic disturbance modulates mammal community diversity, assembly, & abundance: Emerging infectious disease risk in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem” involved extensive research in the Grand Teton National Park, and has shed light on the underlying mechanisms that drive tick-borne pathogen risk. She integrated exhaustive hypothesis testing, innovative experimental design and developed advanced molecular pathogen diagnostics.
Dr. Gutiérrez Jiménez’s current position under the PREDICT-2 umbrella provides the perfect global disease surveillance environment to apply, enhance, and contribute what she has learned in her journey through wildlife disease ecology and One Health. She strives to encourage deep involvement, engaging local communities in the prevention of infectious disease emergence, long-term conservation of biodiversity and the promotion of a healthy, sustainable ecosystem.