Researcher biography

Through my research I focus on global change in terms of the increased risk of emerging infectious diseases in modern society. A direct consequence of changing environments is that pathogens are having greater opportunity to come into contact with, and potentially switch to, new host species. I have recently begun my PhD, supervised by Dr. Jan Engelstaedter, investigating the host-shift dynamics of parasites within a host clade. In my project I am trying to understand the long-term dynamics and consequences of host-shift dynamics given the evolutionary relationships between host species, as well as try to determine predictable patterns in the distribution of pathogens using statistical and mathematical modeling. I use computer simulations to try to gain an understanding of the long-term evolutionary trends in host-switching. In particular, I would like to ascertain the contribution of evolutionary distance between host species on host-shift dynamics in contrast to ecological considerations.

Nicole's principal advisor is Dr Jan Engelstaedter.