Epidemiological Studies of Zoonotic Diseases
The Allen School epidemiological research team spans the globe. With a base of operations in Pullman, Washington, team members collaborate with researchers in Tanzania, Kenya, Nepal, Eastern China, and Guatemala. Their research focuses on both the spread of zoonotic disease, but also the regional and community impacts of the diseases and immunization strategies. With a wide variety of research emphases, the Allen School produces life-changing strategies that improve the health of animals and humans across the world.
The following snippets offer a short overview into the research projects of the school. Click on a link to the researcher profiles for more detailed information about their work. If you are interested in learning more about Allen School disease surveillance initiatives, visit that page when you’re done here.
Infectious Disease Surveillance
Researcher: Dr. Timothy Baszler
Dr. Baszler’s research focuses on global infectious disease surveillance and diagnostic capacity building in developing countries. His work with WADDL also allows him to explore the improvement of diagnostic laboratory Quality Management Systems related to laboratory biosafety and biosecurity practices. His team recognizes that effective animal health services are essential in the development of systems that can detect emerging resistant pathogens as well as endemic pathogens of importance to both human and animal health.
Researcher: Dr. Kariuki Njenga
Located in East Africa, Dr. Njenga currently coordinates the integrated human-animal health program with the CDC regional program in Kenya. His team has initiated studies to determine the etiologies of acute febrile illness that identified a new strain of Rickettsia not previously reported in East Africa. His research focuses on improving collaboration between human and animal health researchers and enhancing the capacity for disease surveillance and outbreak management. In 2017, Dr. Njenga was named to the National Academy of Medicine.
Animal Agriculture Systems
Researcher: Dr. Thomas Besser
Dr. Besser’s research team focuses on the epidemiology of zoonotic bacterial agents in domestic animal reservoirs. Recent work has also been examining the etiology of bighorn sheep pneumonia. The long-term goal of the projects is to reduce the prevalence of bacterial agents that cause human food-borne diseases by focusing on animal reservoirs of the pathogens. In addition to pneumonia, Besser’s team works with non-typhoid Salmonella and thermolytic Campylobacter and the use of antimicrobial drugs in animal husbandry.
Researcher: Dr. Bill Sischo
Dr. Sischo’s program integrates basic and translational research that crosses disciplines to affect policy change in animal and human health. His team conducts primary research in understanding the ecology of zoonotic and food-borne pathogens in animal production units, the impact of communication and management related to the use of antibiotics, and developing quantitative models to predict the impact of policy and communication on disease transmission. His zoonotic disease research examines the transmission dynamics of Salmonella, shedding patterns of shiga toxin Escherichia coli, and cattle intestinal microbiome health.
Researcher: Dr. Margaret Davis
Dr. Davis’ lab uses genotyping methods to study transmission routes of zoonotic pathogens and their maintenance and dissemination in reservoir species. Secondarily, her lab explores the causes of antimicrobial resistance in bacterial pathogens. The study of the molecular epidemiology of zoonotic food-borne pathogens will lead to a better understanding of how pathogens are transmitted among animals, routes of transmission, and determinants of antibiotic resistance.
Researcher: Dr. Felix Lankester
Working from East Africa, Dr. Lankester’s research team targets the spread of infectious diseases, primarily rabies and malignant catarrhal fever (MCF). They work to improve strategies for the regional elimination of rabies, develop vaccine strategies for rabies and MCF, and (in association with the University of Glasgow) modified regional and community strategies to treat MCF in Tanzanian cattle.
Researcher: Dr. Eric Lofgren
Dr. Lofgren’s research focuses on the epidemiology of infectious diseases, particularly in the areas of antimicrobial resistance, healthcare-associated infections, and emerging and zoonotic pathogens. His team uses three major strategies in their projects: mathematical and computational modeling, observational epidemiology, and quantifying uncertainty.
Researcher: Dr. Lauren Charles
Dr. Charles’ current research integrates heterogeneous data sources, such as disease reporting with social and news media, natural disasters, meteorological and climatic data, behavioral and cultural factors, into complex epidemiological models to advance current biosurveillance through a one health approach.
Malaria and Other Parasitic Infections
Researcher: Dr. Thumbi Mwangi
Located in East Africa, Dr. Mwangi’s team focuses on quantitative epidemiology and statistical analysis. Research projects cover the epidemiology and immunology of parasitic infections such as Malaria and helminth co-infections, mechanisms of maintenance and transmission of zoonotic pathogens, and pathways linking livestock health, human health, and welfare in rural African households. While his research on Malaria continues, new projects study the impact of worm control on the incidence and severity of East Coast fever in cattle.
Rabies in Africa and Influenza in Central America
Researcher: Dr. Guy Palmer
Dr. Palmer, the founding director of the Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health, is involved in a variety of research in the socio-economic effects of zoonotic disease. He has worked closely establishing teams in East Africa to combat rabies through controlled vaccination protocols and the study of livestock disease on household economics. He also leads disease control programs in Latin America that focus on influenza epidemiology and community engagement to fight the spread of zoonotic disease.