Dr. Courtney Murdock received her PhD in disease ecology from the School of Natural Resources and Program in the Environment at the University of Michigan. She completed her post-doctoral training in the Department of Entomology at Pennsylvania State University. She currently is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Infectious Diseases, College of Veterinary Medicine and the Odum School of Ecology at the University of Georgia. A consistent theme of the research in the Murdock lab has been the application of ecological and evolutionary theory to better understand how parasites interact with their hosts, how parasites affect measures of host fitness, and to identify key environmental drivers of vector-borne disease transmission. To answer questions within this theme, they adopt a variety of research frameworks, which have included research conducted in the field, mathematical modeling, and laboratory research.
Experimental Approaches to Studying Impacts of Global Climate Change on Mosquito-Borne Disease Transmission
One of the main drivers of vector-borne disease transmission in wildlife and human populations is the ecology of the insect vector. Insect vectors, parasites, and their vertebrate hosts associate in a world that is rapidly changing. Changes in habitat quality, water quantity and quality, pesticide use, environmental temperature etc. can all alter the ecological relationships insect vectors have with their hosts and parasites, resulting in shifts in the distribution and abundances of insect vectors, in contact rates between vectors and their hosts, and ultimately disease transmission. Understanding these interactions will be crucial for better management and prediction of vector-borne diseases in the face of global change. This presentation will focus on the implications global climate change and increasing urbanization have on current and future transmission of arboviruses, such as dengue and Zika viruses. It will also explore issues of incorporating relevant ecological data at different spatial resolutions into predictive models for vector-borne disease transmission.