Pathogen Evolution and Diversity Research Database Project
: 6-10 weeks, up to 20 hours/week
Number of Positions
: Hourly Princeton student RA rate, based on actual hours worked
: Benjamin Rice
, Presidential Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the lab of Prof. Jessica Metcalf, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
: The emergence of novel pathogens is an increasing global concern, as made apparent by recent epidemics (e.g., SARS-CoV-1 2002, H1N1 2009, MERS 2012, Ebola 2013, Zika 2015, and SARS-CoV-2 2019). This motivates questions such as: (i) How do newly emerging pathogens interact with the existing collection of pathogens already circulating in a population (termed the pathogen pool)? (ii) What forces drive pathogen persistence (post-emergence)? (iii) How diverse are the viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens that infect humans? (iv) How can we better monitor epidemic risk?
Research Assistant Responsibilities
: The RA will research the following project aims and tasks:
1. Collect data on human pathogen emergence and create a “pathogen diversity database” containing information on the taxonomy, history, and diversity of viruses. This will involve searching for and collating review articles and online databases
2. Assess the feasibility of new approaches to monitoring for pathogen emergence risk by collecting data on ongoing immunological sampling. The aim is to quantify the number of blood samples taken globally each year that could be integrated into a Global Immunological Observatory. For more info on the Global Immunological Observatory, see the link: https://www.princeton.edu/news/2020/12/14/forecasting-next-covid-19
The RA will also be responsible for collaborating with an international research team based at EEB in Princeton and at Mahaliana Laboratory in Madagascar to organize a database of known human viruses, as well as organize and analyze the pathogen diversity database created for Aim 1 above and organize and analyze the global blood sampling database created for Aim 2 above.
: Familiarity with global health, epidemiology, and/or virology helpful would be helpful, but not required. RA must have the ability to work independently while following strict data curation protocols