Spatial Epidemiology and Disease Ecology
The Geographic Information Science and Spatial Epidemiology (GISSA) lab is located in the College of Veterinary Medicine, at the University of Illinois. The mission of GISSA is to improve the health of people, animals and the environment through scientific enquiry that identifies the causes of health disparities across time and locations. We use maps, data synthesis, statistical methods, and spatio-temporal models to reveal important patterns, forecast future conditions, and develop actionable knowledge to inform policies and methods to reduce illnesses and ensure a health environment.
What we do:
- Spatial epidemiology, models and statistical analysis for complex and dynamic systems
- Spatiotemporal data development from multiple sources to increase spatial intelligence
- Community mapping and implementation of spatial sciences for public health
- Education and training in Geographic information systems and modeling.
- Data collection, surveys, and sampling design using location-based mobile applications, data loggers, field data collection and in-person investigations
To apply for the Graduate program in Pathobiology, indicate your interest in Epidemiology in your application. If you have an interest in disease ecology, also consider an application to the Interdisciplinary Program in Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology.
Spatial and temporal risk of disease
Models built on statistical analyses that take into account disease processes and the environmental and social differences across time and space. Vector-borne and zoonotic diseases are of particular interest. Representative publications on spatial risk written by our group include several on West Nile virus, including our foundational 2004 paper by Ruiz et al. that revealed why some neighborhoods in the Chicago region had higher rates of West Nile virus than others. This was expanded to consider weather conditions and mosquito infection in a follow-up paper by Messina et al. in 2011. The increase in tick-borne illnesses in Illinois was the focus of a collaboration that resulted in mapping and analysis of the spread of human and canine cases of four tick-borne illnesses – also illustrated by the map to the left.
Weather, water and health
The effects of variable temperature and precipitation on health events of people and animals with a special focus on water resources. Weather-based predictions of West Nile virus infection for the state of Illinois are available as part of our collaboration with the Midwestern Regional Climate Center.
Geographic Information Science for public health
The implementation of health informatics with a spatial component for use by local health departments and other agencies.
Dynamic urban environments and neighborhood health
The complexities of interactions between people, animals and arthropod vectors that influence how neighborhoods influence the health of residents.
Movement patterns of people and animals
Measuring and modeling the space-time dimensions of human and animal migration, circulation and interaction.