Professor and Chair, Environmental Studies
E511 Math and Science Center
B.Sc., Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel
Ph.D., University of California, Santa Barbara
M.P.H., University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
My research and teaching programs center around the eco-epidemiology of infectious diseases, with an emphasis on tropical and emerging diseases and environmental risk factors. In our global health research we emphasize anthropogenic changes, including issues of climate, urbanization, agricultural practices and conservation.
For diseases such as dengue, Chagas disease, malaria, schistosomiasis and West Nile virus in Atlanta and in Chicago, my group studies the transmission dynamics and ecology of the insect vectors and the mammalian and avian reservoir hosts, incorporating a strong field component (trapping vertebrates, collecting insects, identifying environmental features), spatial analysis, and laboratory work.
We apply tools such as geographic information systems (GIS) and remote sensing to gather and manage environmental data that can explain the spatial distribution of disease and vectors, and assess risk of transmission. Following quantitative spatial analysis, maps and models can then be produced to target further research efforts, as well as in support of surveillance and control efforts by public health agencies.
Current research efforts funded by NIH, NSF and CDC include large-scale collaborative international studies of malaria and schistosomiasis in Kenya, Chagas disease in Argentina and dengue in Peru and Australia, and of West Nile virus and eco-epidemiology of disease emergence in urban areas in the U.S.
Teaching interests include Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases, Spatial Epidemiology and ecological parasitology. Training of undergraduates, graduate students, and post-doctoral researchers in the U.S. and globally is a major theme of all of our research projects. As part of our training program we also conduct GIS workshops for researchers, public health practitioners and students. Interest in application and communication of scientific information is manifested in teaching a course, Epidemiology and the Media, and in work with the public and with state, national and international public health agencies.
Selected Recent Publications
2009 Gürtler RE, Ceballos LA, Ordóñez-Krasnowski P, Lanati LA, Stariolo R, Kitron U. Strong host-feeding preferences of the vector Triatoma infestans modified by vector density: implications for the epidemiology of Chagas disease. PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases 3: 12 pp.
2009 Vazquez-Prokopec GM, Galvin WA, Kelly R, Kitron U. A new cost-effective, battery-powered aspirator for adult mosquito collections. J Med Entomol I46: 1256-59.
2009 Vazquez-Prokopec GM, Stoddard ST, Paz Soldan V, Morrison AC, Elder JP, Kochel TJ, Scott TW, Kitron U. Usefulness of commercially available GPS data-loggers for tracking human movement and exposure to dengue virus. Int J Health Geogr. 8: 1-11.
2010 Chaves LF, Harrington LC, Keogh CL, Nguyen AM, Kitron UD. Blood feeding patterns of mosquitoes: random or structured? Frontiers in Zoology 7:3.
2010 Ruiz MO, Chaves LF, Hamer GL, Sun T, Brown WM, Walker ED, Haramis L, Goldberg TL, Kitron UD. Local impact of temperature and precipitation on West Nile virus infection in Culex species mosquitoes in northeast Illinois, U.S.A.Parasites & Vectors 3: 19.
2010 Vazquez-Prokopec GM, Chaves LF, Ritchie SA, Davis J, Kitron U. Unforeseen costs of cutting mosquito surveillance budgets. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases 4: 10.
2010 Vazquez-Prokopec GM, Kitron U, Montgomery B, Horne P, Ritchie SA. Quantifying the spatial dimension of dengue virus epidemic spread within a tropical urban environment. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases. 4: 12.
2011 Chaves LF, Keogh CL, Nguyen AM, Decker GM, Vazquez-Prokopec GM, Kitron U. Combined sewage overflow accelerates immature development and increases body size in the urban mosquito Culex quinquefasciatus. J. Applied Entomology. 135: 611-620.
2011 King RJ, Cordon-Rosales C, Cox J, DaviesCR, Kitron UD. Triatoma dimidiata Infestation in Chagas Disease Endemic Regions of Guatemala: Comparison of Random and Targeted Cross-Sectional Surveys. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases 5: 4.
2011 Mutuku F, King CH, Bustinduy A, Mungai P, Muchiri E, Kitron U. Impact of drought on the spatial pattern of transmission of Schistosoma haematobium in coastal Kenya. Am J Trop Med Hyg. In press.