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The Indian Ocean, Climate Change and Epidemic Disease

A new research community supported by the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies (PIIRS) and Princeton Environmental Institute (PEI) will bring together faculty members from across the University to better understand both direct and indirect impacts of climate on human health in the Indian Ocean region, an arc that extends from Madagascar to Sri Lanka.

The community, “Indian Ocean, Climate Change and Epidemic Disease,” will include core faculty members from a range of disciplines. It will receive up to $750,000 from Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies (PIIRS) and $100,000 from Princeton Environmental Institute (PEI) over the next three years to support research, conferences and course development.

The effort is led by C. Jessica Metcalf, assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and public affairs and Class of 1934 University Preceptor in the Woodrow Wilson School; Gabriel Vecchi, professor of geosciences and the Princeton Environmental Institute; Bryan Grenfell, Kathryn Briger and Sarah Fenton Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Public Affairs; and Amilcare Porporato, Thomas J Wu 1994 Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Three questions will drive the group’s research: How exactly do climate drivers affect infectious disease transmission, including vector transmitted infections, such as malaria and Zika, and enteric infections, such as cholera and typhoid? What are the long-term impacts of climate shocks on aspects of healthcare, such as vaccination rates? What are the large- and small-scale signatures of climate patterns on infectious disease?