Michael F. Adams Early Career Scholar 2014
Andrew Park, assistant professor in the Odum School of Ecology, engages in interdisciplinary and ground-breaking research to advance our understanding of infectious diseases. His 2009 paper in Science, a rare example of the connection between parasite evolution and outbreak dynamics in host populations, involved synthesizing a large amount of isolated experiments combined with statistical modeling, antigenic cartography and mechanistic modeling to illustrate the degree to which a few mutations in a virus can trigger outbreaks via their subtle effects on individual hosts. Recently, he has been establishing how environmental factors, such as climate and land use, influence disease outbreaks in human and animal populations. His lab demonstrated a novel mechanism in Lyme disease in which climate-driven tick activity can drastically change which version of the parasite will prosper across the U.S. landscape, helping to explain the burden of disease in different regions. He has also led studies on hemorrhagic disease in deer.