Dr. Sarah H. Olson is an Associate Director of Wildlife Health at the Wildlife Conservation Society. She received a joint PhD in Population Health and Environment & Resources from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and studied how deforestation and climate affect malaria incidence in the Amazon. With WCS, Sarah's portfolio has expanded to include research on the wildlife trade, white-nose syndrome risk to western bats, avian influenza, Ebola and great ape health, digital disease detection, and surveillance techniques for free-ranging wildlife. Her broad research interest focuses on the intersection of wildlife, human, and environmental health.
A childhood left-brained / right-brained test placed Meredith right smack in the middle. Her left brain’s favorite word is data. Excitement for novel, powerful uses of diverse data drives Meredith’s work applying ecological modeling and statistics to quantify, map, and address threats to wildlife and their habitats: roads, changing land use and climate, invasive species, and disease spread. Her right brain is drawn to creative data visualization and graphic design on the work front, and to vintage and toy camera photography, sewing and textile arts, and inventive construction projects with her 6-year-old on the home front. The two halves meet in thinking a lot about root causes of big problems in conservation and how to get way outside the box to generate innovative, lasting solutions.
Raina Plowright is Assistant Professor of Epidemiology at Montana State University, Bozeman, USA. She received her veterinary degree from the University of Sydney, Australia, and then travelled to the USA as an Australian Fulbright and Centennial Scholar to do her PhD in ecology and M.Sc. in epidemiology at the University of California, Davis, USA. She was a David H. Smith Conservation Research Fellow at the Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics at Pennsylvania State University, USA. Her group at Montana State University studies pathogens that spill over from animals to people, the dynamics of zoonotic pathogens in wildlife populations, and pathogens that threaten wildlife conservation.
Dr. Dave Hayman is Director of the Infectious Disease Research Centre and Co-Director of the Molecular Epidemiology and Public Health laboratory in the Hopkirk Research Institute, at Massey University, New Zealand. He specialises in research and training in disease ecology, molecular epidemiology, and the control of infectious diseases. He has led One Health inter-disciplinary research programmes, combining ecology, molecular biology and modelling, in Europe, Africa, Oceania and the Americas. Dave holds visiting positions at the University of Sydney, Australia, and Colorado State University (CSU), USA. He was the recipient of the Massey University Early Career Research Medal in 2015. Prior to joining Massey University in 2014, Dave was a David H Smith postdoctoral fellow at CSU and University of Florida and a Wellcome Trust Research Training Fellow at the University of Cambridge, UK, with joint appointments at the AHVLA and IoZ (UK) while he was completing his PhD. He graduated as a veterinary surgeon from the University of Edinburgh, UK, 2002, with a Master’s degree in Conservation Biology from the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology at the University of Kent, UK, in 2015.
Liam is an assistant professor at Texas Tech University. His research focusses on the ecology and physiology of bats in situations of energy limitation (e.g., migration, hibernation) and the strategies these animals use to cope with environmental variation, often in the context of conservation issues (e.g., white-nose syndrome, wind energy). Liam takes an integrative approach using techniques ranging from molecular biology and biochemistry, to whole animal physiology, behavioral and movement ecology.
Dr. Cori Lausen is a bat biologist with the Wildlife Conservation Society Canada. Her discovery during her PhD that bats fly around mid-winter in the cold Canadian prairies earned her an interview on Canada’s national science program Quirks and Quarks, and kick-started her passion to understand winter bat ecology across the West. Since 2008, she has been leading bat research and conservation efforts in British Columbia, and surrounding jurisdictions, undertaking various winter research projects, stemming from her background in ecophysiology and behaviour. To expand the knowledge base of bats in winter, Cori established a successful citizen science program (BatCaver.org) to locate bat hibernacula in mines and caves in western Canada. She has also spearheaded the formation of several bat working groups, engaging other organizations and individuals in multi-agency research and monitoring projects, and produced many bat management and conservation guidance documents. She was instrumental in the design of the North American Bat Monitoring program, and works closely with US and Canadian agencies to help implement this continental-scale program. Since the discovery of white-nose syndrome mortalities in 2007, Cori has focused largely on preparing western Canada for the arrival of white-nose syndrome (WNS). In 2013, Cori and Dr. David Hayman started a discussion about using his newly developed WNS survivorship model on western bats, and a fantastic team of collaborators ensued, leading to the current science4bats project to elucidate species-specific risk of WNS in the west. As an adjunct professor at Thompson Rivers University, she is collaborating with Dr. Ann Cheeptham, developing a probiotic approach applied in late summer to prevent WNS, which will be most applicable in the west, where knowledge of bat hibernation sites is limited.
Dr. Katie Haase is a postdoctoral researcher at Montana State University. Before coming to Montana, Katie earned her PhD from the University of Florida, her MS from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, and her BS in Wildlife Biology from Unity College in Maine. Katie's research interests tend to focus on anything related to spatial ecology and animal energetics. Her interests stem from her overall questions about how changing landscapes affect animal processes, particularly how spatial patterns of microclimate shape animal behavior.
Dr. Nate Fuller is a post doctoral researcher at Texas Tech University. His PhD research focused on pathophysiology of bats with white nose syndrome and how bats recover from wing damage caused by this disease. His current research focuses on hibernation physiology and the spectrum of hibernation behaviors among North American bats.
Graduate Students & Research Associates
Dan Crowley is a research associate at Montana State University. He was most recently at Columbia University, where Dan worked on his thesis with EcoHealth Alliance, focusing on bat surveillance data from their Nipah Virus project. He is interested in the intersection of disease ecology, immunology, pathogen diagnostics, and public health surveillance systems and has had the opportunity to work on disease surveillance systems in South Africa and Tanzania.
Kirk Silas is a qualified bat surveyor and has been working with bats for over a decade. He received his undergradute degree in Biology at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, PA. He is currently a research technician with a white nose project, bringing his handling experience to the team. He has worked on projects across the U.S. and internationally. His most recent project was catching bats in Panama, studying the fungal diseases of ectoparasites on bats.
C. Reed Hranac
Reed completed his B.S. in microbiology at Northern Arizona University where he became interested in the ecology and evolution of zoonotic diseases. Reed then completed a Masters of Science, also at NAU, where his thesis focused on the spatial distribution of sylvatic Sin Nobre Virus. He is now a doctoral candidate at Massey University in New Zealand, where he's researching seasonality and spatial-temporal dynamics of merging infectious diseases in wild bats.