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🎓Graduate Students🎓

-PhD Student-

I graduated from Samford University in 2016 with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Biology with a Minor in Environmental Studies. After obtaining my degree I joined the United States Peace Corps, where I served as an education and health volunteer in Tanzania for three years. I joined the Escobar lab in 2019, where I completed a Master’s Degree in Fish and Wildlife Conservation. I am currently a PhD student in the Translational Biology, Medicine and Health Program at Virginia Tech. My research interests include biogeography, zoonotic disease and spillover dynamics, landscape ecology, and climate change impacts. I have been very fortunate to work in a wide variety of different locations with various animal taxa, and my work principally focuses on the human-wildlife interface. I have a deep seeded love for my study species, the common vampire bat. In the Escobar lab I study climate change impacts on vampire bat rabies spillover dynamics in Latin America. Outside of work I enjoy writing, hiking, swimming, scuba diving with my husband, and snuggling with my two dogs Dani and Boomer.

-PhD Student-

I am a spatial ecologist interested in species response to the variability present on a landscape across both in time and space, especially anthropogenic changes. I received my BS in Natural Resource Conservation in Fish and Wildlife from University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2016, and completed a MSc in Biology at Austin Peay State University in 2022 focusing on the spatial ecology of reptiles and amphibians. The basis of my work combines on-the-ground field biology and digital analytical tools like R, Python, and GIS. My goal is to do research which ultimately allows managers to make more informed landscape management decisions and helps to develop actionable species conservation plans.


I am interested in a wide variety of spatial questions, my primary taxa of interest are amphibians and reptiles, which I have extensive experience working with and began studying in 2013. At Virginia Tech, I work with Dr. Luis Escobar in the Lab of Disease Ecology and Biogeography and primarily focus on broadening our understanding of the spatial ecology of North America’s rarest turtle, the bog turtle (Glyptemys muhlenbergii). When not doing science I enjoy outdoor recreation including hiking, rock climbing, and wildlife photography.

-PhD Student-

I earned my Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) and Master of Science in Epidemiology from Chattogram Veterinary and Animal Sciences University in Bangladesh. In the spring of 2023, I began doctoral studies in the Department of Fish and Wildlife, Virginia Tech. In my PhD research, I use advanced theoretical frameworks and contemporary analytical tools to study the epidemiology and ecology of zoonotic diseases of wildlife origin, especially those transmitted by bats, using one-health approach.

Prior to joining the Escobar lab at Virginia Tech, from 2015-2022, I led multi-sectoral teams in Bangladesh to conduct ecological and epidemiological studies of the surveillance of animals (wild and domestic) to better understand their emerging zoonotic diseases and the conservation of wildlife. My research also encompasses the characterization of behavioral risk in human populations and the investigation of various disease outbreak investigation in one health approach, such as avian influenza, Nipah virus, leptospirosis, etc. I am skilled at capturing and collecting biological samples from animals, including birds, bats, rodents, and primates. I have instructed a number of wildlife researchers on topics such as wildlife surveillance and sampling. I collaborate closely with national and international initiatives on the surveillance of wildlife and detection of zoonotic pathogens.

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-PhD Student-

Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) with a Master's degree in Animal Health (Microbiology and Epidemiology Line) and PhD candidate in Agrosciences (Population Medicine and Public Health Line). Assistant professor at the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, both undergraduate and postgraduate in the areas of Epidemiology, Food Safety and Public Health, leader and associate researcher of the Epidemiology and Public Health Group, accompanying professor of the One Health Research Seedbed (Student Club) and Editor of the Revista de Medicina Veterinaria of the Universidad de La Salle (Bogotá, Colombia). Member of the Laboratory of Disease Ecology & Biogeography at Virginia Tech (United States), of the Wildlife Disease Association (WDA), of the IUCN SSC Wildlife Health Specialist Group and of the Latin American Disease Ecology Network (REEL).

-PhD Student-

I graduated in 2022 with a Bachelor of Science at Rutgers University where I studied Ecology, Evolution, and Natural Resources. At Rutgers, I completed a George H. Cook thesis on how forest thinning impacts tick diversity, abundance, and pathogen prevalence. I also worked as a research technician for three years at the Center for Vector Biology on various projects related to tick and mosquito borne pathogens and vector ecology using molecular and field-based skills.


At Virginia Tech, my research is focused on combining phylogenetics, population genetics, and biogeography to understand how vector-borne and wildlife diseases have evolved and how they are spatially distributed. I am supported by the ICTAS Doctoral Scholars program and am an Interfaces of Global Change Fellow. Outside of research, I enjoy rock climbing, reading, and spending time with my cat :)


-PhD Student-

I graduated with a BS in Forestry (2015) and an MSc in Forest Biological Science (2022) from the Department of Forest Biology at Kasetsart University, Thailand.

I am interested in landscape ecology and wildlife management, with a focus on ecological modeling using R programming. I have utilized satellite tracking collars to study human-wildlife conflicts and employed GIS and remote sensing techniques to investigate protected areas in Southeast Asia. For my master's thesis, I conducted research on the landscape ecology of tiger prey in Thailand's UNESCO World Heritage Site.


Currently, at Virginia Tech, my PhD research will be focused on the ecology of bats and developing ecological niche models to study the biogeography of rodents and model the risk of transmission to humans. The models will help elucidate the linkages between environmental suitability of the rodent host and transmission patterns of hantavirus. I am supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

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