From migration to mosquitoes, scholars join forces for Brazil study

As a global specialist in eco-epidemiology, Uriel Kitron is immersed in a complex world of insects and infectious diseases, maps and geography. Dr. Kitron is a faculty member of the PBEE program.

With a long-held interest in the construction of national identity, historian Jeffrey Lesser's research is rooted in the realm of ethnicity, immigration and race, with a special emphasis on Brazil.

This semester, the Emory power duo is combining those research strengths, teaming up to explore how the dynamics of human migration, disease transmission and access to health care have impacted a vibrant immigrant neighborhood in São Paulo, Brazil — one of the world's largest megalopolises.

Their joint research project, "Metropolis, migration and mosquitoes: Historicizing health outcomes in São Paulo, Brazil," not only marks an ambitious first-time collaboration for the pair, it's one of three research proposals selected to receive the 2015 Interdisciplinary Faculty Fellowship through Emory's Institute for the Liberal Arts (ILA).

The project will explore how discourses about health and urban populations over time affect transmission of mosquito-borne diseases — such as yellow fever, dengue and Chikungunya — and access to health care from the beginning of the 19th century to now.

By spring of the 2016-2017 academic year, the project will also be expanded into a for-credit course available to Emory undergraduate and graduate students, with additional student research opportunities in Brazil for qualified applicants.

Click here to view the full story in the Emory News Center.  Dr. Kitron is also mentioned in a related story at