The mission of the PEST lab is to reduce disease burden by understanding how disease spreads across a landscape. While the primary focus is vector-borne and zoonotic diseases, we also work on infectious causes of cancers and vaccine preventable disease. The complex nature of infectious disease systems require blending field collections, ecological assessment, laboratory experiments, epidemiological analysis, spatial statistics, remote sensing, geographic information systems, and computer-based modeling in order to develop a more comprehensive view of disease dynamics.
In 2015, our model of epidemic growth won us first prize in the DARPA / InnoCentive Forecasting Chikungunya Challenge (collaborator & lead on the project Dr. Lega did a nice write-up). The work conducted in Biosphere-2 finding changes in flight patterns across differing biomes was published in JME in 2017. Our team supports community climate adaptation by collaborating with ADHS on their BRACE projects, and we're currently working with our CLIMAS partner, Dr. Keith, on a project in Tucson to evaluate Green Infrastructure. In 2019, Dr. Brown was awarded a Fulbright to compare how climate effects differential mosquito-borne disease transmission in two endemic areas.
Having taught a large (~ 120 student) undergraduate course since 2013, we've also moved into the area of teaching research. Using evidence based strategies to engage students in learning, most recently employing a instructional team approach with positive outcomes (manuscript in progress!).
Current research areas include: West Nile virus, dengue, canine heartworm, and Valley fever. In addition to these infectious diseases, we work on infectious causes of cancers, e.g., Helicobacter pylori and gastric cancer. We use the tools of spatial epidemiology to understand disease spread and a key focus on the lab is both the health impacts of the climate and other environmental stressors as well as how to message and adapt to climate change.
A word cloud created using the key words of my papers published through October 2019 Next to one made from paper titles for the same period. Both were made using Jason Davies' online word cloud tool.