Dr. Maria Kaczmarek
"There remain many unanswered questions about why certain pathogens are virulent in humans but cause little to no damage in their reservoir hosts. I’m interested in the evolutionary history and molecular interactions that influence disease outcomes and represent one piece of the disease emergence puzzle. Altogether, understanding why pathogens emerge and how to prevent outbreaks requires a multidisciplinary approach. EcoHealth Alliance embodies this by investigating all aspects of emergence, from the ecological and behavioral levels to the molecular level. I am both grateful and excited to contribute to this important work."
Dr. Maria "Maryska" Kaczmarek applies her background in evolutionary biology and virology to her role as a research scientist and program coordinator at EcoHealth Alliance. She is currently helping to investigate how human behavior, ecological dynamics, and viral genetics influence Nipah virus outbreaks in Bangladesh. In general, she is interested in how host reservoir immunity and viral strain pathogenicity impact zoonoses, with the ultimate goal of harnessing this knowledge to better mitigate spillover events in human populations.
Dr. Kaczmarek earned a BA in biology and French from Wellesley College and a Ph.D. from the University of Texas, Austin where she studied evolutionary virology. Prior to joining EcoHealth Alliance, Dr. Kaczmarek was a postdoctoral fellow at NYU studying an emerging pathogen transmitted to humans via a mosquito vector. Though her work straddled numerous study systems, they are all focused on the molecular underpinnings that dictate how and why a virus is able to utilize a novel host. A process that is critical to understanding zoonoses. She hopes to contribute her expertise to the One Health approach, and aid in public health measures aimed at preventing and understanding spillover.