Primate Models of Infectious Disease

The study of primate disease ecology can advance our understanding of the relationships between behavior, infectious disease risk and health in humans. Ultimately, we are interested in how environmental and social change affects these processes in both humans and wildlife alike. We address these questions using primates as model systems, investigating characteristics of hosts that predispose exposure risk to novel pathogens or altered infectious disease dynamics. Teasing apart causative pathways in observational studies of wild primates is inherently difficult. In the past, our work has used field experiments, in which parasites are removed from hosts, or animals experience rapid and unexpected changes in their environment, to measure responses to exposures in a more controlled fashion. Results from this work can be applied to human societies experiencing new health threats, such as those experiencing environmental or socio-political displacement. Thus, by extending the concept of primates as models of human health, a typical lab paradigm, to afflictions of populations and societies, our research endeavors to link primate health and conservation to broader global issues. 

Coughing monkeys, crabs, lung parasites and local medicines


Supported by:

​National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant (IOS -1403861)

​Fulbright Institute of International Education Scholarship 

National Institutes for Health Parasitology and Vector Biology Training Grant     

​Kohler Fellow at Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery 

​Graduate Women in Science Ruth Dickie Scholarship 

​John Ball Zoological Society Wildlife Conservation Grant Award 

​Robert Wood Johnson Health Foundation Dissertation Grant 

​International Primate Society Captive Care Grant 

​Primate Society of Great Britain, Captive Care Working Party