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Luis E. Escobar

Asst Professor AY
Office: 344 Latham Hall
Lab: 340 Latham Hall

D.V.M., Universidad de San Carlos, Guatemala City, Guatemala (Avian Flu in Wild Birds) (2009)
M.Sc., Wildlife Management, Universidad de San Carlos, Guatemala City, Guatemala (Community Ecology of Fleas in Guatemala) (2011)
M.Sc., Veterinary Sciences, Universidad Andres Bello, College of Ecology and Natural Resources, Chile (2012) 
Ph.D., Conservation Medicine (Summa Cum Laude), Universidad Andres Bello, College of Ecology and Natural Resources, Chile (Ecology and Biogeography of Bat-borne Rabies) (2014)

  • FiW 5984 Advanced Biogeography and Macroecology in the Anthropocene (Fall).
  • FiW 4984 Foundations of Fish and Wildlife Diseases (Fall).

My research focuses on the application of ecology and biogeography to the study of infectious diseases. Classic biogeographic theories and methods, however, were not conceived to study host-parasite systems in infectious diseases. Therefore, my laboratory explored suitable theoretical frameworks and methods for investigating the linkages between environmental instability and disease dynamics. To quantitatively support new theoretical frameworks in disease ecology and biogeography, I study a series of multi-parasite, multi-host diseases systems. To untangle effects of environmental instability on disease dynamics, I explicitly assess how diseases respond to climate and landscape change. Due to the unique niche that my research fills in biogeography, in many of these studies I often collaborate with multidisciplinary teams to develop novel computational tools that account for the complexities of host-pathogen disease systems and multi-scale analyses. I categorize my research in three focal themes, which in turn are the main lines of my academic program: [1] Diseases Biogeography, [2] Global Change and Infectious Diseases, and [3] Ecoinformatics.

Professional appointments

  • 2017 – Present Assistant Professor, Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation, College of Natural Resources and Environment, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA.
  • 2017 – Present Affiliated Faculty, Global Change Center, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA.
  • 2018 – Present Virginia Tech Faculty of Health Sciences, Ph.D. Program on Translational Biology, Medicine, and Health. Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA.
  • 2018 Associate Graduate Faculty (Honorary), Graduate Faculty. Minnesota State University, Mankato.
  • 2019 – Present Honorary Faculty, PhD Program in Agrosciences, University La Salle, Bogorta, Colombia.
  • 2016 – 2017 Research Associate (level 6), College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences, University of Minnesota, Saint Paul, MN.
  • 2015 – 2016 Post-Doctoral Associate, College of Veterinary Medicine and Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center, University of Minnesota, Saint Paul, MN.
  • 2014 Research Scientist, Center for Global Health and Translational Science, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, State University of New York, Upstate Medical University.
(Student/Visiting Scholar, *Corresponding)
  • Castillo Signor LC, Edwards T, Matope A, Castaneda-Guzman M, Escobar LE, Donis E, Adams ER, Cuevas LE. Epidemiology of dengue in Guatemala. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases. Accepted
  • Escobar LE*, Molina-Cruz A, Barillas-Mury C. BCG Vaccine Protection from Severe Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID19). PNAS. Accepted.
  • Chaiyes A, Escobar LE, Willcox E,  Duengkae P, Watcharaanantapong P, Pongpattananurak N, Wacharapluesadee S, Hemachudna T. An Assessment of the Niche Centroid Hypothesis: Pteropus lylei. Ecosphere. 11, e03134.
  • Van de Vuurst P. and Escobar LE*. (2020) Climate Change and the Relocation of Indonesia’s Capital to Borneo. Frontiers in Earth Science. 8, 5.
  •  Chandrasegaran K, Lahndere C, Escobar LE, Vinauger C. (2020) Linking mosquito ecology, traits, behavior, and disease transmission. Trends in Parasitology. 36, 393-403.
  • Winter SN, Escobar, L. E.* (2020) Chronic Wasting Disease modeling: An overview. Journal of Wildlife Diseases. 56, 000-000.
  • Escobar LE*, Pritzkow S, Winter SN, Grear  DA, Kirchgessner  MS, Dominguez‐Villegas  E, Machado  G, Peterson  AT, Soto C. (2019) Ecology of Chronic Wasting Disease in Wildlife. Biological Reviews. 95, 393-408.
  • Evans TS, Shi Z, Boots M, Liu W, Olival KJ, Xiao X, Vandewoude S, Brown H, Chen JL, Civitello DJ, Escobar LE, Grohn Y, Li H, Lips K, Liu Q, Lu J, Martínez-López B, Shi J, Shi X, Xu B, Yuan L, Zhu G, Getz WM. (2020) Synergistic China-US ecological research is essential for global emerging infectious disease preparedness. EcoHealth. 17, 160-173.
  • Frias de Diego A. Jara M, Escobar LE. (2019) Global patterns of papillomavirus in wildlife to predict potential regions for lineage-appearance. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution. 7, 406.
  • Watts N, Amann M, Arnell N, Ayeb-Karlsson S, Belesova K, Boykoff M, Byass P, Cai W, Campbell-Lendrum D, Capstick S, Chambers J, Dalin C, Daly M, Dasandi N, Davies M, Drummond P, Dubrow R, Ebi KL, Eckelman, Ekins P, Escobar LE, et al. (2019) The 2019 Report of The Lancet Countdown on health and climate change. The Lancet. 394, 1836-1878.