Dr. Leah Johnson
Dr. Johnson is a quantitative ecologist working at the intersection of statistics, mathematics, and biology. At a broad level, her research focuses on understanding how differences between individuals in a population result from external heterogeneity and stochasticity, and how this variability influences population level patterns. She address these questions primarily in the context of infectious disease epidemiology, as well as in behavioral and population ecology. Her approach is to use theoretical models to understand how systems behave generally, while simultaneously seeking to confront and validate models with data and make predictions. Thus, a significant portion of her research focuses on methods for statistical — particularly Bayesian — inference and validation for mechanistic mathematical models of biological and ecological systems.
In relation to global change, Dr. Johnson studies how climate impacts transmission of vector-borne diseases, and how to predict changes in where disease is likely to be transmitted as climate changes. She also examines how environment and human changes to the landscape can impact energetics, foraging behavior, and population dynamics of animals.