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Disease Ecology

Research in my lab has increasing turned toward the evolutionary ecology of infectious disease. Following initial funding by the Woods Institute's Environmental Venture Projects Fund</a>, I have developed a research program that specifically investigates the role of human ecology in the transmission dynamics of diseases of significance for global health. Specific questions that we address include:

  • How do subsistence-related decisions place people at risk for infection with zoonotic infections?
  • How do relationships aggregate to create social structures that are more or less efficient at transmitting infections and can such information inform better efforts at eradication and control?
  • What is the role of mobility on the transmission dynamics of infectious disease?
  • What are the consequences for infectious disease dynamics of compositional changes in population?

We use tools from demography, transmission-dynamics modeling, social network analysis, human behavioral ecology, statistics, and epidemiology to help us answer these questions.
I am currently the co-PI on two major projects funded through the joint NSF/NIH program on the Ecology of Infectious Disease.
The first of these is an interdisciplinary collaboration attempting to understand the transmission ecology of primate retroviruses in and around the Kibale National Park, Uganda. The research team brings together PIs, who include a veterinarian, a population geneticist, a primatologist, a human behavioral ecologist, a virologist, and an epidemiologist, from six different schools (Wisconsin, Stanford, McGill, Oregon, Bristol, Cambridge) and the Centers for Disease Control and prevention. For this project, I am developing models of (1) the transmission dynamics of simian retroviruses in primate metapopulations and (2) the spillover dynamics of these retroviruses into human populations. In addition, I supervising the collection of social network and mobility data of people living in communities surrounding the park. 
The second EEID grant for which I am a co-PI brings together a team from the Ecohealth Alliance, Stanford, UCLA, and the University of Oklahoma to study the spillover dynamics and transmission potential of highly pathogenic avian influenza in four endemic countries (Bangladesh, China, Egypt, Cameroon).
The ecology of infectious disease is a major theme of my Teaching as well. There are numerous other small projects that fill out this research area. We run a disease ecology group meeting at Stanford in the winter and spring quarters. Disease ecology is the primary area of interest for me with respect to graduate student admissions.  

Representative Papers

Salkeld, D.J., Padgett, K.A., J.H. Jones. (2013) A meta-analysis suggesting that the relationship between biodiversity and risk of zoonotic pathogen transmission is idiosyncratic. Ecology Letters. 16(5): 679-686. (doi:10.1111/ele.12101)

Janes, C., K. Corbett, J.H. Jones, J. Trostle. (2012) The role of social sciences in predicting and responding to emerging zoonotic diseases. The Lancet. 380(9857): 1884-1886. (doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(12)61725-5)

Salkeld, D.J. M. Salathé, P. Stapp, J.H. Jones. (2010) Plague outbreaks in prairie dog populations explained by percolation thresholds of alternate host abundance, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, 107(32): 14247-14250. (doi:10.1073/pnas.1002826107).

Salkeld, D.J., P. Stapp, J.H. Jones. (2009) The climate-disease amplification hypothesis: Relationships between vector-abundance, host density, and weather in grasshopper mice. Working Paper.