Dana Hawley

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Dr. Hawley studies environmental and ecological factors that affect host immunity and disease dynamics, with a specialization in birds.

Dana Howley Research


Pathogens are colonizing novel hosts with increasing frequency due to global agricultural traffic and habitat alteration. Managing and mitigating these emerging disease threats to humans and wildlife requires a detailed understanding of why populations vary in susceptibility to diseases over space and time. Dr. Hawley’s research program investigates the ecological and evolutionary mechanisms that underlie pathogen susceptibility, from single host individuals to multi-host communities. She currently studies disease dynamics in the context of two broad frameworks: 1) genetic and species-level diversity, and 2) environmental and social stressors. She approaches disease ecology from a multi-disciplinary perspective in order to understand how stress, genetics, social behavior, community composition, and environmental context interact dynamically to influence host disease susceptibility and pathogen transmission. Ultimately, these studies will improve our understanding of the processes that underlie disease emergence and spread in wild animal, domestic animal, and human populations.