Dr. Melinda Rostal
Principal Scientist, Vector-Borne Diseases
"The intricate links between wildlife and public health are fascinating and clearly call for a One Health approach to understanding emerging diseases, which we are demonstrating through our work in South Africa."
Dr. Melinda “Mindy” Rostal is a principal scientist in vector-borne diseases, the Rift Valley Fever Project Manager and the CCHF Project Manager at EcoHealth Alliance. Mindy’s work involves wildlife and livestock surveillance in hotspots around the world in order to uncover the source of emerging infectious disease. Working with EcoHealth Alliance’s network of global partners Mindy is advancing the ‘One Health’ approach by focusing her work on scientific research, training and capacity building in some of the most at-risk regions for disease emergence on the planet.
More recently, Mindy has been focusing on her work in South Africa and Tanzania investigating rogue viruses that can have significant impacts on the health of wildlife and people. Specifically, she is involved in our DTRA funded program Reducing the Threat of Rift Valley Fever through Ecology, Epidemiology, and Socio-Economics where she and a OneHealth team are investigating the effects of climate, mosquito ecology, ruminant and human exposure to Rift Valley fever virus and working to better understand the socio-economic cost of Rift Valley fever. In Tanzania she is combining remote sensing data collection with field samples collected from cattle, small mammals and people to better understand the risk and prevention of Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever. She continues to work with Drs. Epstein and Islam on wildlife surveillance for emerging viruses in Bangladesh.
Mindy earned a BA in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Princeton University. She completed a dual-degree program at the University of Minnesota where Mindy graduated with a Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine and a Masters in Public Health. Mindy also earned her PhD in Epidemiology from the University of Glasgow.
Mindy’s master’s thesis examined the activity of Rift Valley fever in Kenya among wildlife, domestic livestock and people. She conducted this extensive research in collaboration with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s International Emerging Infectious Disease Program. Now she has brought her interest in this disease full circle with her work in South Africa.