Dr. Paula R. Prist
Principal Scientist, Conservation & Health
"Deforestation continues to threaten tropical regions around the world, favoring the emergence of zoonotic diseases. In addition, several efforts are underway worldwide to restore forests on a large scale. All of these landscape changes can promote both negative and positive effects on the transmission risk of zoonotic diseases, depending on how they are done. Identifying strategies to reduce these diseases and to conserve biodiversity by managing already changing landscapes is essential to preserving human health and maintaining the provision of ecosystem services."
As Principal Scientist for Conservation & Health at EcoHealth Alliance, Dr. Paula Ribeiro Prist leads the Conservation and Health team. Her work focuses on understanding how the landscape structure derived from different land use changes can affect the transmission risk of zoonotic diseases. She is especially interested in trying to understand the effects of landscape configuration and of forest restoration on hosts, reservoirs, and vectors of zoonotic diseases, so that we can be able to manage landscapes to make them “healthier” for people.
Dr. Prist holds a Master’s and Ph.D. in ecology from the Department of Ecology of University of São Paulo, a postdoc from the same institution, and a Bachelors in Biology from Mackenzie University. Originally from Brazil, Paula’s long-term plan is to contribute to the development of high-quality research that allows the management of tropical landscapes, either in the form of legal deforestation or forest restoration, in order to create landscapes with a low transmission risk for zoonotic diseases.