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Dr. Gillian Eastwood

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Dr. Gillian Eastwood is a vector-borne disease ecologist, with a focus on enzootic transmission cycles of arboviruses and determining the potential for emergence or spillover of infectious zoonotic diseases. She has around 5 years collective experience living, working and researching overseas, in both Latin America and Africa, largely focused on tropical forest ecosystems.

As a disease ecologist, her passion lies in One Health approaches to address emerging infectious diseases as phenomena deriving not just from separate systems as isolated veterinary or public health problems, but recognizing the intertwined nature of humans, domestic and wildlife animals and the shifting challenged planet on which we all live.

Dr. Eastwood’s primary interests lie in the impact of drastic tropical forest degradation occurring globally, and the shifting potential for vector-borne disease emergence. At Virginia Tech, her research program has expanded to include a focus on tick-borne pathogens, the vectors of which are burgeoning in population range and abundance, likely linked to climate change, land-use and anthropogenic movement factors. She has collaborators in Kenya, Ecuador and Panama, and looks forward to honing both these relationships and new internal collaborations to address changing scenarios driving the emergence of vector-borne infectious diseases.

Prior to academia, Dr. Eastwood worked as a law enforcement Wildlife Crime Analyst for four years, which exposes huge global impacts as market demand and supply for endangered species (both flora and fauna) as a commodity drives illegal activity. She is keen to collaborate with other interested faculty in recognition of wildlife crime events as a problem threatening species populations across the world, particularly since illegal wildlife trade can lead to disease pathogen spillover.

Dr. Eastwood holds a BS in Psychology & Mathematics (University of Birmingham, UK), MS in Environmental Biology (University of St. Andrews, Scotland), and PhD in Disease & Conservation Ecology (jointly between the University of Leeds and Zoological Society London, UK).