Kevin Olival, PhD

EcoHealth Alliance, United States

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Personal Statement: Dr. Olival graduated with distinction from Columbia University in 2008 with a PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and a M.A. in Conservation Biology. His dissertation research focused on the population genetics and geographic distributions of large fruit bats in Southeast Asia, with implications for Nipah virus dynamics and emergence. Dr. Kevin Olival is an ecologist and evolutionary biologist who has been researching emerging infectious diseases for over a decade. He has been at the forefront of recent international investigations to understand the origins and transmission pathways of: Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in Saudi Arabia; Ebola Reston virus in the Philippines; and Nipah virus in Bangladesh and Malaysia. He has managed wildlife conservation and disease research projects across Southeast Asia for over 10 years, with a strong focus on bat research. Dr. Olival’s role as Senior Research Scientist at EcoHealth Alliance involves coordinating the modeling and analytics research; integrating evolutionary and ecological theories to understand the drivers of disease emergence; and managing zoonotic disease surveillance efforts in Thailand and Indonesia under the USAID PREDICT project. Some highlights from Kevin Olival’s research include detecting the first evidence for Ebola virus from bats in mainland Southeast Asia (Bangladesh); detecting MERS-CoV and related viruses in bats and advising the Institute of Medicine’s Forum on Microbial Threats on this disease; understanding the circulation of Nipah virus in its natural fruit bat reservoirs; estimating viral diversity in mammals globally; and building models to predict zoonotic disease emergence.

Dr. Olival’s EcoHealth Bio: Click Here

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