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Peter Daszak

Title Adjunct Professor
Affiliation/Department President and Disease Ecologist, EcoHealth Alliance
Telephone 845-365-8337
Professional degree Ph.D, Parasitology University of East London, UK, 1993
Research Description Peter Daszaks research addresses the link between anthropogenic environmental change, wildlife diseases, public health and conservation. He is especially involved in research on emerging diseases, in trying to understand their ecology and the factors that drive emergence. To do this he investigates anthropogenic environmental changes linked to disease emergence and how they influence host-parasite population dynamics. Current projects include studying the ecology of West Nile virus, Nipah virus (a disease that emerged from fruit bats to kill over 100 humans in Malaysia recently) and other diseases that cross the wildlife-human boundary. Emerging diseases also affect wildlife directly and some are responsible for population declines, local extinctions and even species extinctions. Peter Daszak is working on wildlife emerging diseases that have conservation significance (e.g. amphibian chytridiomycosis, Partula snail microsporidiosis, testing hypothesized examples of extinction by infection). This work involves looking at the factors that drive emergence. One of the key processes is the introduction of pathogens through trade in wildlife, domestic animals, animal products and other materials ("pathogen pollution"). Peter has a number of research projects investigating the role of trade in the spread of wildlife and human pathogens and the impact of this on public health and conservation.
Representative Publications Daszak, P. & Cunningham, A.A. (2002). Emerging Infectious Diseases: A Key Role for Conservation Medicine. In: Aguirre, A.A., Ostfeld, R.S., House, C.A., Tabor G.M. & Pearl, M.C. (Eds.). Conservation Medicine: Ecological Health in Practice. Oxford University Press, New York.

Daszak, P., Cunningham, A.A. & Hyatt, A.D. 2001. Anthropogenic environmental change and the emergence of infectious diseases in wildlife. Acta Tropica 78: 103-116.

Daszak, P., Cunningham, A.A. & Hyatt, A.D. 2000. Emerging infectious diseases of wildlife - threats to biodiversity and human health. Science 287: 443-449

Daszak P. & Cunningham A.A. 1999. Extinction by infection. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 14: 279.

Daszak, P., Berger, L., Cunningham, A.A., Hyatt, A.D., Green, D.E. & Speare, R. 1999. Emerging infectious diseases & amphibian population declines. Emerging Infectious Diseases 5: 735-748.

Berger, L., Speare, R., Daszak, P. et al. 1998. Chytridiomycosis causes amphibian mortality associated with population declines in the rain forests of Australia and Central America. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., USA 95: 9031-9036.

Cunningham, A.A. & Daszak, P. 1998. Extinction of a species of land snail due to infection with a microsporidian parasite. Conservation Biology 12: 1139-1141.
Other Information Peter Daszak is the Executive Director of the Consortium for Conservation Medicine, a unique collaborative venture between, Harvard Med Schools Center for Health and the Global Environment, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine, USGS National Wildlife Health Center and Wildlife Trust. The Consortium conducts collaborative, multidisciplinary research programs and educational curricula to increase our ecosystem-level understanding of disease. It acts as a conduit to providing objective information for policy makers and to formulating practical solutions to disease-driven extinctions and emerging diseases of humans.
Current Teaching n/a