Image of livestock from Africa

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. If you are interested in learning more about Allen School disease surveillance initiatives, visit that page when you’re done here.
Disease Surveillance Initiatives

Research emphases and related faculty are discussed below. You may also be interested in Allen School work with zoonotic disease,  antimicrobial resistance, and socio-economic research.

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.
Dr. Timothy Baszler Profile

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.
Dr. Kariuki Njenga Profile

Animal Agriculture Systems

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.
Dr. Bill Sischo Profile

Graduate Spotlight

Jojo Avillan in the Lab

Johannetsy (JoJo) Avillan is a graduate student in the IID program. She has been researching the fitness costs and benefits of different antimicrobial-resistance genes. When reflecting on her WSU experience, Avillan said, “When I visited WSU for the first time, I was impressed with the landscape and structure. The students and staff made me feel welcomed and the professors were all passionate about research and mentoring, providing the tools needed for the success of each of their students."
Johannetsy (JoJo) Avillan Full Interview
Allen School Research
Graduate Training
Graduate Life in Pullman

Molecular Epidemiology

Researcher: Dr. Mohammad Aminul (Amin) Islam
Islam lab studies the sources and transmission routes of multi-drug resistant enteric bacteria, especially extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL)-producing, carbapenem- and colistin-resistant strains using molecular epidemiological approaches. The lab explores how anthropogenic activities and agricultural practices impact the emergence and transmission of AMR in outdoor environments and in food-producing animal production and supply chains in low-and middle-income countries. The primary goal is to identify effective intervention strategies to reduce the infection or colonization rate with antibiotic resistant organisms both in humans and animals. Currently his laboratory is investigating the effects of water, sanitation and hygiene interventions on intestinal colonization with antibiotic resistant organism among children living in rural Bangladesh

Vaccine Strategies

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.
Dr. Felix Lankester Profile
Rabies Free Africa Initiative


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.
Dr. Eric Lofgren Profile

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.
Dr. Lauren Charles Profile

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.
Dr. Thumbi Mwangi Profile

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 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.
Dr. Guy Palmer Profile
Rabies Free Africa Initiative

Faculty Working in this Research Area

Timothy Baszler

Timothy Baszler


Assoc Director Disease Surveillance, Paul G. Allen School for Global Health

Thomas E. Besser

Thomas E. Besser


Professor and Rocky Crate-Wild Sheep Foundation Chair in Wild Sheep Disease Research

Epidemiology of zoonotic bacterial agents in domestic animal reservoirs

Lauren Charles

Lauren Charles


Senior Data Scientist, PNNL. Research Professor, Allen School

Biosurveillance; Epidemiology; Data science; Data fusion (text/laboratory/spatial/imagery), One Health

Felix Lankester

Felix Lankester


Associate Professor & Director of Rabies Free Tanzania

Epidemiology and economic impact of infectious diseases in East Africa

Eric Lofgren

Eric Lofgren


Assistant Professor

Computational epidemiology; healthcare-associated infections; emerging pathogens; mathematical modeling

Thumbi Mwangi

Thumbi Mwangi


Associate Professor & Director of Rabies Free Kenya

M. Kariuki Njenga

M. Kariuki Njenga


Professor of Epidemiology and Virology

Guy Palmer

Guy Palmer


Regents Professor of Pathology and Infectious Diseases,
Creighton Endowed Chair, Senior Director of Global Health

Bill Sischo

Bill Sischo


Professor Emeritus