Simulating pathogen survival in a multi-host community – Graduate Student Researcher

New Haven, CT
Tick burden and aggregation affect survival of a host-specialized pathogen (portions presented at the Evolution meeting and Society of Vector Ecology congress in 2009)
Working in R, I created a model that simulates transmission of a pathogen through a heterogeneous community of hosts for several generations. In particular, I examined the effects of vector (tick) aggregation among these hosts and the implications for pathogen survival.
One of the most interesting outcomes of this study was that clustering of vectors among hosts can actually decrease the likelihood of pathogen survival, but only if the probabilities of a host becoming infected and transmitting infection are disassociated (which may be the case to some degree with ticks).
I presented this work at the Society of Vector Ecology Congress in Antalya, Turkey, as an invited student speaker, covered in Yale Public Health magazine.