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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 inquiry 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
  • Spatio-temporal 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.


May 2018: CDC Warns that Disease from Ticks, Mosquitoes and Fleas on the Rise


March 28, 2018 – Tick-tracking program gathers data to combat tick-borne disease in Illinois

The Illinois Tick Inventory Collaboration Network, or I-TICK, is a way to gather information about where and when people in Illinois encounter ticks that carry diseases. These vector ticks are found throughout the state. By knowing more about the timing and location of their distribution, public health personnel can provide better information to the public and better guide efforts to reduce the number of ticks. The primary focus of I-TICK is to develop a network of people whose work takes them out into natural areas and then enlist them to submit the ticks that they find on their person in the course of their work. Download this document to learn more about I-TICK.


The GISSA Lab is proud to be part of the CDC funded MCE-VBD and is committed to make breakthroughs in vector borne disease research in Illinois and in the Upper Midwestern region. 


The GISSA Lab has made partnerships with other research labs and faculty members. Some of our current collaborators are as follows:

Upper Midwestern Center of Excellence in Vector Borne Diseases (MCE-VBD)

Institute for Sustainability, Energy and Environment (ISEE), University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign

Rebecca Lee Smith, Modeling for Disease Control Improvement Lab

Flavia Andrade, Kinesiology & Community Health

Nohra E. Mateus-Pinilla, Wildlife Veterinary Epidemiology Lab 

NCSA – Computing and Data Sciences