Program in Eco-Epidemiology
2013 Summer Internship Recipients:
Nicole West - Mosquito-Borne Virus Study in Everglades National Park, Florida
Chelsea Lea Savit - Mosquito-Borne Virus Study in Everglades National Park, Florida
Siddartha Bhandary - Mosquito-Borne Virus Study in Everglades National Park, Florida
Dylan Duchen - The Effects of Host Genetic Variation in Cytokines on Infectious Disease
Matt Phelps- Modeling the Environmental Drivers of Tick-Borne Pathogens in New England
Forums in Eco-Epidemiology:
Yale Institute for Biospheric Studies Center for Eco-Epidemiology (YIBSCEE) sponsors a Forum Series on topics that integrate ecology and epidemiology to address contemporary issues in environment and human health. Each Forum has been videotaped in its entirety and is available for viewing at this site. A total of 47 lectures are currently available. These lectures are suitable for class assignments or research reviews, but content is not copyrighted or considered published and therefore should not be cited or referenced in any publication.
Zoonoses: Diseases from Nature
April 3, 2009 - Winslow Auditorium, Yale School of Medicine
Pathogens transmitted to humans from wildlife constitute the most important source of emerging infections threatening public health throughout the world. This forum included participants from two previous international meetings on zoonoses: The Environment and Human Health Workshop at the National Zoonoses Centre at University of Liverpool in April 2007 and 2008, and the Fifth International Conference in Emerging Zoonoses held in Limassol, Cypress in November 2007. The Liverpool workshop participants were primarily medical research and public health scientists. The purpose of this conference is to facilitate increased communication and exchange of ideas between researchers from the public health and disease ecology communities who are working on zoonotic pathogens of humans.
Biodiversity and Human Health
September 4, 2006
Baird Auditorium, National Museum of Natural History, Washington, DC
The loss of biodiversity is accelerating while
new infectious diseases appear to be emerging
and reemerging at a faster rate. Research on the
links between these two processes can have an
important impact on our view of biodiversity,
the services provided by natural ecosystems, and
how we manage them. This interdisciplinary forum
of researchers, practitioners, and decision
makers in ecology, public health, remote
sensing, and the social sciences discusses the
state of the science, refine research
priorities, and discuss how to integrate
existing data into a monitoring and
risk-forecasting network that aims to prevent or
significantly mitigate risks of human disease
and threats to biodiversity around the world, co-sponsored by EPA, Smithsonian Institution,
and World Conservation Union.
Avian Reservoirs of Human Pathogens
April 21, 2006
The threat from animal pathogens transmissible
to humans is at an unprecedented increase
worldwide. Epidemics of Lyme disease and West
Nile virus in the US, and the potential for
world-wide pandemic avian influenza have
revealed critical weaknesses in our knowledge of
how these diseases emerge, spread, and are
maintained in nature. Microbial pathogens
transmitted from birds to humans, either
directly or through intermediate vectors (ticks
and mosquitoes), are of particular concern
because birds are ubiquitous, locally abundant,
and can move pathogens over long distances
quickly. The involvement of birds in public
health threats to humans poses significant
management dilemmas for wildlife biologists and
human disease epidemiologists that are
infrequently addressed together. The objective
of this interdisciplinary forum is to provide an
opportunity for communication and discussion
among the disciplines of microbiology,
ornithology, entomology, epidemiology, and
conservation biology in order to identify needs
for advancing efforts to understand and mitigate
disease risk caused by microbial pathogens
humans share with avian wildlife.
Climate and Disease
December 9-10, 2005
Luce Hall Auditorium, Yale University
Global climate change and emerging disease threats are among the most pressing issues facing humankind. Much speculation has developed concerning the relationships between events, but what is really known about cause and effect? This Forum addresses the current state of our knowledge on the relationship between climate and disease by bringing together a group of academic and government scientists with international experience in climate/disease research. A range of topics is presented that demonstrate the need, capacity and benefits of understanding how climate influences risk for infectious diseases in humans.
To view videos of talks, click here
Human society is continuously threatened by chemical, physical and biological agents emanating from both the natural and manmade environment that directly affect survival, health, and quality of life. Effective mitigation of these threats requires basic knowledge from a wide range of disciplines within the general area of environmental science. Because of its roots in the human medical sciences, the science of epidemiology focuses only on the human health outcomes associated with exposures to environmental stressors and agents. Epidemiology does not typically draw upon disciplines in the natural environmental sciences to consider the role of natural ecosystems as sources of human exposure to hazardous agents. Solutions for many of today's epidemiological problems require knowledge from several disciplines which are outside the mainstream of classic research and training in traditional medical schools and schools of public health. There is an urgent need for an interdisciplinary approach that will strengthen our intellectual capacity to address the environmental processes through which harmful agents threaten human existence and welfare. Likewise, there is also a need to assess the impact of such agents on the ecosystem, both directly, and indirectly through results of mitigation against human threats. The YIBS Center for Eco-Epidemiology fulfills these needs by providing an opportunity for faculty and students to participate in a cross-disciplinary effort between the medical and natural environmental sciences. Yale provides an unusual academic environment for this center as few academic institutions in the U.S. have expertise in both disciplines on the same campus.
Yale Institute for Biospheric Studies (YIBS)
serves as a principal focus for Yale
University's research and training efforts in
the environmental sciences and forms
intellectual centers for research and education
that address fundamental questions that will
form the ability to generate solutions to the
biosphere's most critical environmental
problems. Health issues are among the most
relevant environmental problems of today, and
include both human health and ecosystem health.
Solutions to these problems are complicated by a
significant intellectual gap which exists
between the medical discipline of epidemiology
and the environmental discipline of ecology.
Medical epidemiology lacks a comprehensive
understanding of natural environmental processes
that influence disease agents, and environmental
science lacks the sound methodology and advanced
technology of contemporary epidemiological
investigation. The goal of the YIBS Center for
Eco-Epidemiology (YIBSCEE) is to merge the
the medical and environmental sciences, and in
so doing, create opportunities at Yale for
research and training in the epidemiology of
agents affecting both human health and the
Activities of YIBSCEE include symposia and seminar series on a wide range of contemporary topics relating to environment and health which are open to the Yale community. These activities form the basis for the creation of new interdisciplinary undergraduate and graduate courses. YIBSCEE also coordinates existing curricula among participating faculty to broaden scope and improve content. In addition, the center provides a forum and resources for planning and acquisition of extramural funding for interdisciplinary training and research in eco-epidemiology at Yale.
The major goal of YIBSCEE is to serve as a platform for the integration of epidemiology and environmental science at Yale. The Center enhances opportunities for intellectual exchange and program development by providing a forum and resources for faculty and student interaction that results in increased interdisciplinary participation and visibility. The ultimate goal of the center is to merge the boundaries between the medical and environmental sciences which will enhance research and training in the epidemiology of agents affecting both human health and the natural environment.
There are a wide range of critical environmental questions and issues that are relevant to the goals of the proposed center. YIBSCEE focuses upon issues that are truly interdisciplinary and not currently addressed in existing research or training programs at Yale. Center activities build upon and expand existing independent efforts among faculty to interact effectively and form a cohesive group with common intellectual pursuits. These activities include the coordination of existing course instruction and training opportunities, the sponsorship of YIBCSEE forums and seminars, and the development of new courses.
Several activities that have been independently initiated by participating center faculty serve as examples of an interdisciplinary curriculum in eco-epidemiology.
The success of these activities have been enhanced through increased dialogue with participating faculty and financial support for new activities from YIBS.
The following faculty from the School of Public Health (EPH), School of Medicine, School of Forestry and Environmental Studies (FES) and Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB) participate in YIBSCEE (listed alphabetically).
Michelle Bell, Ph.D Associate Professor of Environmental Health
Dr. Bell’s research addresses air pollution and human health by integrating several disciplines, such as environmental engineering and epidemiology. The overall aim of her work is to answer scientific questions regarding how air pollution affects health and to perform policy-relevant research that contributes to well-informed decision-making and to greater public understanding of environmental health hazards. Much of Dr. Bell’s work uses mathematical modeling to examine the relationship between air pollution, weather, and human health endpoints such as mortality and hospital admissions. Some of this research examines high air pollution episodes.
James E. Childs, ScD, Senior Research Scientist in and Lecturer in Epidemiology (Microbial Diseases)
Maria Diuk-Wasser, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Epidemiology (Microbial Diseases)
Dr. Diuk-Wasser is an infectious disease ecologist with research interests in the roles of wildlife and environmental change in the emergence of new infectious diseases affecting public health. She is currently working on Lyme disease and West Nile virus and has past experience working on malaria in Africa. Her landscape epidemiology approach to studying the ecology of infectious diseases relies heavily upon the use of remote sensing, GIS, and spatial
Durland Fish, Ph.D., Professor of Epidemiology (Microbial Diseases) and of Forestry And Environmental Studies
Alison Galvani, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Epidemiology (Microbial Diseases) and of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Theodore Holford, Ph.D., Susan Dwight Bliss Professor of Public Health (Biostatistics) and Professor of Statistics
Brian Leaderer, Ph.D., Susan Dwight Bliss Professor of Epidemiology (Environmental Health) and Professor of Forestry And Environmental Studies; Deputy Dean of Public Health
Peter M. Rabinowitz, MD, MPH, Associate Professor of Medicine (Occupational Medicine); Director of Electives, Yale School of Medicine
David Skelly, Ph.D., Professor of Ecology, FES
Stephen Stearns, Ph.D., Edward P. Bass Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Chair, Dept. of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Paul Turner, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Ecology and Evolution, EEB
John Wargo, Ph.D., Professor of Environmental Risk Analysis and Policy, Director of the Environment and Health Initiative, FES
Tongzhang Zheng, DSc., Professor of Epidemiology (Environmental Health)
Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Agents (EEB720a/EMD544a)
This course provides an interdisciplinary view of infectious diseases. It is taught by Paul Turner (EEB) with guest lectures by D. Fish and M. Diuk-Wasser of EPH. This course was hugely successful its premier year with more than 70 students (mostly undergraduate) enrolled. Observing the Earth From Space (FES 506b, EMD 548b, GG 362b) is a remote sensing course offered spring of each year by the Geology Department and is designed to teach students how to use satellite imagery for environmental applications. The course is attended by 1-3 EPH students each year and a lecture is given on remote sensing applications in epidemiology. GIS Applications in Epidemiology and Public Health (BIS511a) is offered each fall semester by the Biostatistics Division of EPH and is taught by T. Holford. The course has attracted students from FES and Yale College and is designed to teach students how to collect and analyze spatial data on the environment and disease cases. This course, together with the remote sensing course, provides a valuable training sequence for health applications of environmental data that is not offered at any other academic medical institution. Modeling the Epidemiology and Evolution of Infectious Diseases (EMD 565a) is offered each year by A. Galvani. This course is designed for students to develop an understanding of the ways mathematical and computational modeling can be used to explore the epidemiology and evolutionary ecology of infectious diseases. Interdisciplinary approaches include combining epidemiology with population genetics, evolutionary biology, and economics.
Ecology and Epidemiology of Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases EMD 572a/F&ES 90004a
Coordinator: Maria Diuk-Wasser, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Teaching Assistant: Kim Tsao, email: email@example.com
Course time: Tuesday and Thursday 3:00 – 4:20 pm LEPH 102
Office Hours: By appointment
Course description: Diseases transmitted to humans by arthropods (vector-borne) or animal reservoirs (zoonotic) constitute the majority of globally (re)emerging infectious diseases. The purpose of this course is to explore factors underlying the risk to humans of acquiring vector-borne and zoonotic diseases (VBZD) like malaria, dengue, West Nile virus, Lyme disease, rabies, hantavirus, etc. Students will learn how human risk for these diseases can be described and predicted by understanding the ecology of vectors and reservoirs and the factors allowing for maintenance and transmission of pathogens. The course will utilize a combination of lectures, discussion of primary literature, practical exercises on risk mapping, and guest speakers.
Course learning objectives:
Upon completing this course, students will be able to:
This course will utilize a combination of lectures, discussions of research articles, lab exercises and guest speakers. Class will meet twice a week. Each meeting will consist of a combination of lecture and discussion of assigned readings or lab exercise.
Yale Classes v.2 System: http://classesv2.yale.edu
EPH, Fall 2009 courses, EMD 572b, F&ES 90004
There is no textbook for the class. Reading materials will be placed on the course website.
E&EB 460a, 960a Studies in Evolutionary Medicine, Part II
E&EB 461b, 961b Studies in Evolutionary Meicine, Part I
Part I of the two-term linked seminar. Also EMD 695b
Estimated enrollment: 15 (10 undergraduate, 2 FAS PhD, 3 EPH)
Credit per term: 1.0
Seminar with student presentations; attendance at guest lectures required
Prerequisites: E&EB 122b or E&EB 225b and MCDB 202a or equivalents; at least junior standing
This two-term course begins in January. Students learn the major principles of evolutionary biology and apply them to issues in medical research and practice by presenting and discussing original papers from the current research literature. Students develop a research proposal based on one of their research proposals and write a paper based on the results of their research in the fall term. The course meets for two 75-minute sessions each week. Credit and grades are awarded for each term. Only students who have engaged in summer research projects may enroll in the fall term. Admission is by competitive application only. This course is intended as an orientation to the field for beginning PhD students in E&EB and E&PH and as a capstone course for highly qualified undergraduate and MPH students, primarily those interested in going on to graduate school, medical school, and MD/PhD programs. Covering those areas of medical research and practice where evolutionary biology sheds useful new light, it brings students to the leading edge of research by having them present and discuss papers from the current iterature, attend and discuss lectures by prominent scientists, carry out a summer research project, and write up their research results as a scientific paper with the support and feedback of the course instructors.
1) 4 visiting lectures per semester. Students are required to attend the lectures, particpate in discussion following the lecture, and attend dinner with the speaker in a college. Visiting lecturers for Spring 2011: January 20th - Ruslin Medzhitov (Yale, evolutionary immunobiology); February 9th-10th - Sarah Tishkoff (Penn, human evolutionary genetics); March 2nd-3rd -http://www.accounts.pitt.edu/Public/find.asp?FoundCDS=BccCcBAbabaSx&AuthCode=2W9kyj9k8jl7j57 (Pitt, epidemiology); April 7th - 8th - Chris Kuzawa (Northwestern, developmental origins of adult disease.
2) Summer research projects hosted in labs at Yale and as arranged by students anywhere else in the world with approval of the instructors. Last year's students did their internships at the University of Oxford, the Pasteur Institute in Paris, Yale, and in the field in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil.
Joint Training Programs
FES/EPH Joint Masters Degree Program
The M.F., M.P.H., and M.E.S.-M.P.H. are degrees for students who are interested in understanding the environmental context of public health. These programs allow students flexibility in designing their curriculum, although students must satisfy minimum residency requirements and minimum credit hours in both schools. This program is a three-year effort and is unique among US institutions offering degrees in public health.
Internships and laboratory rotations Summer internships have been taken by a number of FES (master degree) and EEB (undergraduate) students in EPH, and EEB Ph.D. students have completed laboratory rotations in EPH. Similarly, EPH Ph.D. students take laboratory rotations in FES and EEB. This type of exchange has provided valuable interdisciplinary experience for students with training in ecology and environmental science by exposing them to contemporary epidemiological research methods.
Seminar Series The Center for EcoEpidemiology sponsors interdisciplinary seminars in Disease Ecology recent guest speakers have included Klaus Kurtenbach of the Biodiversity Program at Imperial College, London and Tom Scott, Director of the Center for Vector-Borne Diseases at U.C. Davis, and Sarah Randolph, Dept. of Zoology, Oxford University and Xiangming Xiao, Complex Systems Research Center, Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans and Space, University of New Hampshire.