The Budischak Lab has joined Keck Science at Claremont McKenna, Pitzer and Scripps Colleges!

I am happy be a new Assistant Professor of Biology at Keck. I’m looking forward collaborating with Keck students and faculty.

Why Disease Ecology?

Infectious diseases play a critical role in the dynamics and stability of populations, communities, and ecosystems, and are an increasingly important conservation and public health concern. I am a disease ecologist working at the intersection of community and nutritional ecology to understand how environmental context affects how organisms respond to and cope with parasitic infection.

Organisms must balance investment in immunological defenses against a suite of parasites while simultaneously optimizing resource allocation to other fitness-related traits like growth and reproduction. Moreover, the availability, quality, and spatial distribution of resources in the environment will affect two key components of transmission used in epidemiological models: contact rate and the likelihood of transmission given contact. However, these among- and within-host scales generate opposing predictions for parasite transmission. Accordingly, a cross-scale understanding of how within-host and environmental resources interact to affect disease outcomes is necessary for understanding temporal, individual, and population-level variation in infection, and for predicting how host and parasite populations will respond to environmental changes.