With a background in disease ecology, Julie Shapiro studies the relationships between wildlife, humans, domestic animals, and anthropogenic disturbance, and uses ecological modeling to understand and help to manage emerging diseases.
At the Ecological Complexity Lab at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev’s Department of Life Sciences, Dr. Shapiro studies the effect of land-use change on the structure of host-parasite networks in Madagascar, and its implications for disease risk to humans. As extensive and ongoing land cover change threatens biodiversity in Madagascar, zoonotic diseases — those that can be transmitted to humans from animals — are an important factor in public health, particularly for recurring plague epidemics. Her research is the first to account for multiple transmission pathways simultaneously, and the first to examine how the structure of the networks and risk of spillover to humans change when land use changes. Dr. Shapiro hopes to develop better predictive models of disease transmission with broad implications for human health, and to make major theoretical and applied contributions to disease ecology.
Her current project builds on research she conducted on the ecology of antibiotic resistance in hospital networks as a postdoctoral fellow at the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM). Dr. Shapiro earned her PhD in Interdisciplinary Ecology from the University of Florida.