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RESEARCH AT THE INTERFACE BETWEEN ECOLOGY AND PUBLIC HEALTH

WELCOME!

 

In the Prokopec Lab, we aim to understand the major determinants of the occurrence, transmission, and local propagation of major vector-borne and parasitic diseases. We study the biology and ecology of insect vectors, reservoir hosts, and the relationship between humans, vectors, and pathogen transmission. We are interested in applying this data derived from field, observational, and experimental studies and integrating it with spatially explicit statistical and mechanistic models of pathogen transmission. Our primary research involves disease ecology, spatial and landscape epidemiology, and global health. We are also actively engaged in inspiring the next generation of scientists at the undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral levels.

NEWS

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Stay updated on our latest project involving targeted indoor ​residual spraying (TIRS) for Dengue control

OUR TEAM

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR

Gonzalo Vazquez-Prokopec, Ph.D.  |  
Associate Professor, Department of Environmental Sciences

POSTDOCTORAL RESEARCHERS

Yamila Romer, M.D.  |       
Department of Environmental Sciences

Oscar David Kirstein, Ph.D.  |                   
Department of Environmental Sciences

GRADUATE STUDENTS

Sebastián Durán  |  

Population Biology, Ecology, & Evolution

Ali Pérez |  
Environmental Sciences

Piper Schifflett |  
Global Health

Xorla Ocloo  |  

Population Biology, Ecology, & Evolution

Patrick Corbett  |  

Global Epidemiology

Julia (J) Raymond

Environmental Sciences & Human Health

 Henry Mangalapalli 
Biology & African American Studies

OUR RESEARCH

Click here for more information about our international research sites!

 

Research at the Prokopec Lab falls into four areas:

  1. TRANSMISSION HETEROGENEITY
    Over a decade of research on the role of heterogeneity (individual, spatial, temporal) on arbovirus transmission dynamics has unveiled the critical role of specific traits on pathogen transmission. We have developed a novel framework to study the overlapping nature of couplings between functional heterogeneities relevant for vector-borne disease transmission. We argue that research efforts should move beyond considering the impact of single sources of heterogeneity and account for complex couplings between conditions with potential synergistic impacts on parasite transmission. Using theoretical approaches and empirical evidence from various host–parasite systems, we investigate the ecological and epidemiological significance of couplings between heterogeneities and discuss their potential role in transmission dynamics and the impact of control.

     

  2. INSECTICIDE RESISTANCE
    As insecticide-based interventions are deployed, there is a need to understand how evolutionary processes impact the success of such efforts. Insecticide resistance has emerged as a major problem to public health, and there is a need to understand the ecological determinants of the emergence and propagation of genes that confer resistance to a myriad of insecticide classes. We aim to understand the spatial and temporal dynamics of insecticide resistance as they relate to vector management
    regimes.

     

  3. VECTOR CONTROL
    Using an evidence-based approach, we conduct experimental and randomized field trials to evaluate the impact of existing and novel interventions on vector behavior and abundance or pathogen transmission. Such analyses depend on adequate surveillance platforms, and we are involved in the development of better sampling methodologies, the incorporation of spatial analysis and mapping, and the evaluation of this enhanced surveillance in the context of urban mosquito control programs.

     

  4. EMERGING TICK-BORNE DISEASES
    Ticks are the most notorious vectors of human and animal diseases in the United States. In recent years, a new arbovirus, Heartland virus (HRTV), has been reported in the Midwestern and Southern US states, causing severe human disease and fatal cases. Knowledge about the viral enzootic cycle is very limited. The Prokopec Lab is currently studying the ecology of HRTV transmission in Georgia via field surveys of ticks and small mammals.

     

OPPORTUNITIES

The Prokopec Lab is composed of individuals with diverse backgrounds and experiences, all with a common goal at the intersection of disease ecology research and public health activism. We believe that remarkable ideas can come from anywhere. Our goal is to foster an inclusive, fun, and intellectually rigorous environment that will help everyone to develop and apply those ideas. We recognize that we seek the difficult task of understanding our relationship with vectors, pathogens, and the environment. It is only through meticulous trial and error and collaborative thought and discussion that we will be able to tackle these problems presented by a rapidly urbanizing world.

Those  interested in joining the lab should email Dr. Prokopec directly at gmvazqu@emory.edu or by using the contact information at the bottom of this webpage with:

1) a synopsis of their research interests;
2) a sense of where they feel they would fit into our efforts; and
3) a current CV or resume
4) unofficial transcripts (Emory undergraduate students only)

See you soon!

CONTACT

Dr. Gonzalo Vazquez-Prokopec

Associate Professor

Department of Environmental Sciences

Mathematics and Science Center

Emory University

400 Dowman Dr.

Atlanta, GA 30322

Office: Room E530

Lab: Room W508

404-727-4217

 


gmvazqu@emory.edu