I use GIS to map and model different phenomena in data-rich and data-poor environments. My work centers on three main themes that include disease, mobility and novel data sources.
Malaria in Africa
During 2013, an estimated 198 million cases of malaria were reported worldwide with 90% of all deaths occurring in Africa (World Health, 2014).
Working with the Thomas Lab looking at how malaria will be affected with changes in temperature. In particular, I am modeling transmission potential of malaria using different climate resolutions to understand what temporal scale is necessary to model vector-borne diseases both currently and in the future using down scaled data. See publications to learn more about this work.
Mosquito distributions in Pennsylvania
Working with the DEP
PA to investigate the spatial and temporal distribution of important
mosquito vectors of disease. These include vectors related to the transmission
of West Nile Virus (WNV); dengue and chikungunya and malaria.
West Nile Virus (WNV)
Aedes albopictus, an invasive species that is a highly competent vector of dengue, chikungunya, WNV and La Crosse virus is prevalent throughout PA.
The emergence of new diseases and the re-emergence of old diseases are an increasing challenge. Recent years have seen the swift movement of West Nile virus (WNV) across the continental US; resurgence of dengue in the Americas; outbreaks of malaria in Europe as well as chikungunya in Europe, the Caribbean with local transmission reported in Florida. More recently, we have seen the spread of Ebola in Western Africa with a small number of cases exported globally. An integral part of defining how diseases are spread comes from understanding movement and in particular those associated with humans.
Human movement is, of course, multi-faceted occurring across local, regional, national and international scales for many reasons ranging from work and economic well-being, conflict to displacement caused by loss of livelihoods and due to natural hazards (e.g. climate- and weather-related events such as flooding, drought and heat stress) and health/disease. Despite its importance collecting human movement data is inherently difficult. I am exploring the use of novel datasets to better capture human mobility and integrating these data into my current research to better understand disease pathways.
Bike share Data: Bike sharing systems have increased dramatically throughout the world and serve as a proxy for understanding movement patterns within urban areas. I am currently working with students to analyze the spatial and temporal biking patterns to better understand mobility throughout a year in an urban setting.
NOVEL DATA SOURCES - TWITTER
Social media and micro-blogging is increasingly being used during crisis events to provide live up-to date information as events evolve with information being disseminated using these novel data streams by both citizens and public officials.
SensePlace2: I am also involved with SensePlace2 which forages place-time-attribute information from the Twitterverse that can support crisis management (see publications).
Perception of risk during a crisis event: Of particular interest is whether a person’s geographical location and the relevant content of their message can be mined to answer critically important questions about how a person perceives the risk associated with a life-threatening weather event. The data collected may include an individual’s reaction to the threat, their spatial displacement from the threat and their general perception of the level of danger the threat poses. Therefore, how to can we leverage social media as a vehicle through which to stimulate appropriate citizen response to official advisories and warnings associated with natural disasters. As a step towards addressing this question, we have been using social media data, specifically Twitter, to
Symbology: Investigating diversity and standardization of symbols across multiple agencies through the use of a repeatable process for expanding symbol sets to support new needs, and to develop new technology to support symbol sharing and dissemination. Further details can be found at Map Symbology (see publications).
Tracking Turtles in Colombia