On World Health Day 2020, Landscape News editor Gabrielle Lipton spoke with the head of the Gillespie Lab and Emory University associate professor Thomas Gillespie and University College London professor Kate Jones. The discussion focused on the emergence and spread of disease among wildlife and how human impact on land-use and biodiversity can lead to global pandemics.
Thomas Gillespie is an associate professor of environmental sciences and environmental health at Emory University. His research examines interactions among anthropogenic environmental change; biodiversity; and the ecology and emergence of disease in wildlife, domestic animals, and people. His research group uses diverse pathogen study systems within mammal metapopulations and vectors in areas experiencing distinct forms of disturbance, such as selective logging and tourism. In addition to improving understanding of human-induced habitat changes on pathogen dynamics, this work provides the opportunity for early detection of novel pathogens. He is a National Geographic Explorer and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Distinguished STAR Fellow, directs the Gombe Ecosystem Health Project at the request of Dr. Jane Goodall, directs infectious disease research for the Centre ValBio in Madagascar at the request of Dr. Patricia Wright, and serves on the IUCN Species Survival Commission. Twitter: @BiodiversHealth / Gillespie Lab
Kate Jones is a professor of ecology and biodiversity at University College London and has held appointments at the Zoological Society of London, University of Cambridge, Columbia University, and Imperial College London. Her research investigates the interface of ecological and human health, using statistical and mathematical modeling to understand the impact of global land-use and climate change on ecological and human systems, with a focus on emerging infectious diseases. Kate’s research also develops applied artificial intelligence tools for monitoring ecological health and runs a number of wildlife citizen science programs. Kate has written more than 100 articles and book chapters in journals such as Nature and Science and is a scientific advisor for a number of international biodiversity charities, including serving as chair of The Bat Conservation Trust for 9 years. In 2008, Kate won the Leverhulme Prize for outstanding contributions to zoology.