The Brook Lab today is comprised of Ekipa Fanihy, which means ‘Team Fruit Bat’ in Malagasy. We are a collection of hard-working students and research staff investigating the infection dynamics of potentially zoonotic fruit bats in Madagascar. Visit the News page to follow our progress in the field, lab, and office. See Join the Lab! to get involved in our dynamic team, starting at the University of Chicago in fall 2021!
Angelo Andrianiaina is a PhD student in the Department of Zoology and Animal Biodiversity at the University of Antananarivo, Madagascar, where he studies seasonal variation in ectoparasite infestation of two Malagasy fruit bats (Eidolon dupreanum and Rousettus madagascariensis) and the impacts of this variation on the dynamics of infection for vector-borne pathogens, such as Bartonella spp. Angelo holds a Master’s degree in Animal Conservation from the University of Antananarivo and has previously worked on projects promoting lemur conservation in vanilla plantations in northern Madagascar, as well as projects documenting small mammal and herpetological biodiversity in the Moramanga District of east-central Madagascar.
Santino Andry is finishing his Master’s degree in the Department of Entomology at the University of Antananarivo, Madagascar, where he worked with the Madagascar Biodiversity Center to document the effects of logging intensification on exotic and native ant assemblages in the new protected area of Ambohidray, District of Moramanga, Madagascar. Santino joined Ekipa Fanihy in August 2019 and will be enrolling as a PhD student with the team in 2021.
Anecia Gentles is a PhD student working with Dr. Nicole Gottdenker in the Odum School of Ecology at the University of Georgia. Prior to starting at UGA, Anecia served as an 18-month Field Project Manager for Ekipa Fanihy from January 2018-June 2020, organizing lead monthly field collections on our project. Anecia plans to continue work with Ekipa Fanihy throughout her PhD. Her review of previous modeling studies of bat infection dynamics will be coming out in Pathogens and Global Health next month. Anecia holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Rice University, where she studied lemur seed dispersal in Madagascar.
Sarah Guth is a fourth-year PhD Candidate in the Department of Integrative Biology at the University of California, Berkeley. Sarah is advised by Professor Mike Boots and studies the evolutionary underpinnings of cross-species zoonotic emergence. Sarah is carrying out a subset of dissertation chapters in part with Ekipa Fanihy, specifically investigating linke between disease and aging in the fruit bat methylome in collaboration with Professor Peter Sudmant at UC Berkeley. Sarah holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Conservation Biology from Middlebury College and has previously studied foraging and learning behavior in bees, as well as served as the Program Coordinator for Harvard University’s Planetary Health Alliance.
Christian Ranaivoson is just finishing his PhD in the Department of Zoology and Animal Biodiversity at the University of Antananarivo, Madagascar, and has already started his appointment as a postdoctoral researcher in the Virology Unit at Institut Pasteur de Madagascar. Christian’s PhD research focused on the distribution and transmission of intra-erythrocytic parasites of Malagasy fruit bats, specifically Babesia spp. infections of the Madagascan flying fox, Pteropus rufus, and Bartonella spp. infections of the Madagascan fruit bat, Eidolon dupreanum. As a postdoc, Christian will lead Next Generation Sequencing studies with targeting viral discovery in Malagasy fruit bats. Christian holds a Master’s degree in Biology, Ecology, and Animal Conservation from the University of Antananarivo and has previously studied infections of Malagasy crayfishes and nematode parsites of Malagasy reptiles.
Fifi Ravelomanantsoa is a PhD student in the Department of Zoology and Animal Biodiversity at the University of Antananarivo, Madagascar, where she is studying seasonal variation in microbiome gut flora in Malagasy fruit bats and the interactions of these microbiome communities with the dynamics of viral and bacterial infections. Fifi’s review of the zoonotic potential of bat-borne coronaviruses is currently in revision at Emerging Topics in Life Sciences. Fifi holds a Master’s degree in Animal Conservation from the University of Antananarivo and has previously studied patterns in chiropteran biodiversity in the Melaky region of western Madagascar.
Kimberly Rivera was a Field Project Manager for Ekipa Fanihy from January-August 2019. Along with Anecia Gentles (see above), Kim organized and led monthly field collection on our project. Kim graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science from the University of Delaware in 2016 and has worked previously on projects studying bighorn sheep in the Mojave Desert, white-tailed deer in Pennsylvania, gray wolves in northern Minnesota, and migratory shorebirds on the Delaware coast. Kim is now a Master’s degree in the lab of Dr. Brian Gerber, investigating human-wildlife conflict related to fossa depradation of domestic poultry in central Madagascar.
Katheryn Fitzgerald was a Field Project Manager for Ekipa Fanihy in fall 2019. Along with Anecia Gentles and Samantha Kreling (see below), Katie organized and led monthly field collections on our project. Katie has previously studied bats in a variety of ecosystems, ranging from the deserts of the American southwest to the rainforests of Borneo. She earned her B.S. in Environmental Studies from San Francisco State University in 2018 and is now a graduate student studying the diet of Myotis velifer at Angelo State University.
Samantha Kreling was a Field Project Manager for Ekipa Fanihy in fall 2019. Sami worked closely with Anecia Gentles and Katie Fitzgerald to organize monthly field collections on our project. Sami graduated with a B.S. in Environmental Science, Policy, and Management from UC Berkeley in 2019, where she studied black-tailed deer response to fire disturbance in northern California. She is now a Master’s student in the Prugh Lab at the University of Washington, using noninvasive genetics to study urban coyote diets.