top of page


Epidemiology is at the core of our research agenda -- understanding how disease behaves within and between populations:

Disease = disruption of the normal functioning of a system (e.g., illness, dysbiosis, antimicrobial resistance)

Populations = collections of things (e.g., hosts, microbes, ecosystems)

We practice "epidemiology without borders":

Without scientific borders - we utilize methods, theories and concepts from all fields

Without geographical borders - we practice epidemiology across the globe, at all scales 

Without cultural borders - we strive to recognize our own cultural constraints and how these influence our practice of epidemiology

Without thought borders - we encourage free thinking, and continuously question the paradigms within which we practice epidemiology

With these concepts at the foundation of our research program, here are some of the specific content areas being investigated: 

 Antimicrobial Resistance 

Antimicrobial resistance is a complex ecological and population genetic phenomenon of microbes, with potentially dire consequences for human and animal health.  In the lab, we strive to:

  • Advance understanding of how antimicrobial resistance develops and persists in both microbial and host populations

  • Investigate applied, practical measures to effectively mitigate and control antimicrobial resistance

  • Improve risk assessment of antimicrobial resistance from different spheres in our society (e.g., human hospitals, veterinary medicine, livestock production)

  • View antimicrobial resistance as both a "natural" and anthropogenically-mediated process

  Data Analytics 

We work with many different types of data, but in all cases our goal is to turn the data into usable and useful information: Examples:

 Herd Health 

Our group includes veterinarian-scientists whose mission is to preserve and improve herd health by providing evidence-based recommendations regarding herd health issues, including issues related to public health and food safety.  Previous and current work includes:

  • Bovine respiratory disease in beef cattle, impacts of antimicrobial drugs on morbidity, mortality and antimicrobial resistance in Mannheimia haemolytica

  • WGS analysis of bovine respiratory disease pathogens

  • Impacts of regulatory changes on antimicrobial use practices and subsequent herd health considerations


Our lab specializes in using metagenomic data to improve our understanding of the ecology of antimicrobial resistance, aka the "resistome" (i.e., all antimicrobial resistance genes within a given sample):

 Livestock-Environmental Interfaces 

Livestock production is an integral part of our world.  Contact between livestock and humans can be direct and indirect, occurring through the food chain and the environment.  Our lab is particularly interested in how livestock production systems exchange microbes and DNA across environmental interfaces:

 Food Safety 

Food safety is the cornerstone of a healthy society.  We investigate comprehensive, systems-based approaches to improving both pre- and post-harvest food safety:

 Livestock-Associated Microbiomes 

The microbiome is crucial to the health of animal, humans and the planet.  While we often think of microbiomes in terms of the body (e.g., the "gut microbiome"), non-living environments also contain microbiomes (e.g., the microbiome of the "built environment").  Our lab is interested in understanding how these various microbiomes influence livestock production, food safety and animal/public health.

bottom of page