Bio

Bio


I am a post-doctoral scholar and epidemiologist passionate about environmental health and social justice. I have recently finished my Ph.D. in public health epidemiology from Kent State University College of Public Health focusing on chikungunya, Zika, and dengue in Cali, Colombia. My many roles in the LaBeaud lab include: supporting and enhancing ongoing and future projects in data management, mapping, and analysis; creating collaborations; designing new studies; and thinking about global health. Previously I worked on vector control with attractive toxic sugar baiting experiments and dengue and Chagas’ disease surveillance and control. I also have experience in prevention of domestic violence and HIV through human rights advocacy. I studied international health and development at Tulane University School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene and Biochemistry at John Carroll University.

Honors & Awards


  • ASTMH Robert Shope Fellow, ASTMH (2017)
  • Arbovirology Student Travel Award, ASTMH ACAV (2017)
  • Summer Training Grant, NIH (2012)
  • Top 3 Finalist, “Be the Change: Save a Life” Public Health Challenge, ABC News and the Duke Global Health Institute (May 2011)

Boards, Advisory Committees, Professional Organizations


  • member, American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ACME & ACGH) (2012 - Present)
  • Member, EpiCore (2016 - Present)

Professional Education


  • Master of Public Health, Tulane University of Louisiana (2011)
  • Doctor of Philosophy, Kent State University (2016)
  • Bachelor of Science, John Carroll University (2010)

Community and International Work


  • Community educator, Enhancing STEM education for students in the Bay Area, Hayward

    Topic

    Enhancing STEM education

    Partnering Organization(s)

    STEM outreach collective

    Populations Served

    students in the Bay Area

    Location

    Bay Area

    Ongoing Project

    Yes

    Opportunities for Student Involvement

    Yes

  • Catholic Worker Community Intern, Cleveland, OH

    Topic

    Catholic Worker House Volunteer

    Partnering Organization(s)

    Catholic Worker

    Populations Served

    Immigrants

    Location

    US

    Ongoing Project

    No

    Opportunities for Student Involvement

    No

  • Handmaids of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, San Salvador, El Salvardo

    Partnering Organization(s)

    Handmaids of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

    Populations Served

    Children

    Location

    International

    Ongoing Project

    No

    Opportunities for Student Involvement

    No

  • Seeds of Hope, Cleveland, OH

    Topic

    Mentorship

    Partnering Organization(s)

    Big Brothers Big Sisters

    Populations Served

    Children

    Location

    US

    Ongoing Project

    No

    Opportunities for Student Involvement

    No

  • Voices for Healthy Choices, New Orleans, LA

    Topic

    Community Health Education

    Partnering Organization(s)

    Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine

    Populations Served

    Women, HIV positive persons, Homeless persons

    Location

    US

    Ongoing Project

    No

    Opportunities for Student Involvement

    No

  • Peace Corps Community Health Outreach, Polokwane, South Africa

    Topic

    Community Health Outreach

    Partnering Organization(s)

    Peace Corps

    Populations Served

    Women and children

    Location

    International

    Ongoing Project

    No

    Opportunities for Student Involvement

    No

Research & Scholarship

Projects


  • Miniaturized Automated Whole Blood Cellular Analysis System, Stanford University (1/1/2018)

    Project Information: Measurements of cellular immune responses are key to understanding the pathogenesis and control of viral and other diseases, but methods to measure these responses are laborious and not suited to field settings. The goal of this project is to create an easy to use automated system for stimulation and storage of small- volume whole blood samples for functional assays, and to validate the system’s performance in a cohort of pediatric subjects seen at point-of-care clinics in Kenya.

    We will place the new system in Msambweni, Coastal Kenya to collect whole blood samples from 100 children previously exposed to dengue and/or chikungunya, stimulating the samples with peptide pools for each of the above viruses, plus positive and negative controls. The positive control will give a measure of general immune competence, including innate immune function; and the negative control will provide a baseline along with detailed phenotyping of all major immune cell subsets. Samples will be frozen, banked, and shipped to Stanford for mass cytometry analysis. We will determine the performance of the assay with regards to: sensitivity/limit of detection, specificity (to distinguish exposed from unexposed individuals using peptide pool stimulations), and range.

    Location

    Ukunda, Kenya

  • Chikungunya, Dengue, and Zika in Cali, Colombia: Epidemiological and Geospatial Analyses, Kent State University

    Dengue, chikungunya, and Zika are vector-borne diseases of global health concern. Cali, Colombia experienced hypoendemic dengue and outbreaks of Zika and chikungunya between October 2014 and April 2016. The epidemiological and geographical aspects of these diseases were investigated using classical epidemiological measures, geographically weighted regression modeling, and spatial video geonarratives. These diseases were found to be spatially clustered and related to key environmental, demographic, temporal, and climate variables at neighborhood and sub-neighborhood levels. These findings have implications for public health policy and vector control in Cali, Colombia.

    Location

    Cali, Colombia

  • Clinical validation of a user-friendly and real-time arboviral surveillance mobile application, Stanford Univerity

    Currently, vector-borne diseases are a growing public health problem and surveillance and diagnosis is a barrier to outbreak prevention and control. In the last decade, Colombia has become a hyperendemic area for the dengue virus (DENV), chikungunya (CHIKV) and Zika (ZIKV) viruses were introduced in the last three years, and the threat looms of emergence and re-emergence of other vector-borne infections (Mayaro (MAYV) and yellow fever (YFV) viruses). In this context, the diagnosis of arboviruses has become even more challenging as primary symptoms are shared among these infections. As new viruses emerge, the health-care system is at risk of being overburdened and triage an increasingly difficult task, causing an increased risk of morbidity and mortality in the absence of additional training and surveillance tools. To modernize our information technology systems, make arboviral tracking more efficient, and improve patient outcomes, we propose an enhanced user-friendly mHealth application be validated in two clinics in Cali. This proposed solution uses advanced technologies, like machine learning techniques for clinically validated diagnostic and to determine relationships in harmony with existing national surveillance system (SIVIGILA).

    Location

    Cali, Colombia

  • Trash to Treasure: Collecting trash for profit to reduce vector breeding sites in Kwale County, Kenya, BOVA Network; Stanford University; Technical University of Mombasa/ Vector borne disease control Unit, Msambweni Sub-county referral hospital, Kwale County

    Mosquitoes are the deadliest animal in the world because they carry pathogens that make humans sick. One very important mosquito vector, Aedes aegypti, spreads dengue, Zika, chikungunya, and yellow fever. This mosquito bites in the day time and likes to breed in man-made containers, such as recyclable plastic containers, tires, and trash. In this proposal, our primary objective is to test whether a community-based recycling program can engage aspiring businesspeople to turn trash into profit in Kwale County, Kenya. We know that trash is the most productive mosquito habitat in this region, so we expect to improve health by reducing mosquito-borne diseases (such as dengue (DENV) and chikungunya (CHIKV) viruses) and to alleviate poverty by generating income. In our study site, Kwale County, there is a particularly high rate of unemployment, especially among young adults. Our proposal will entice individuals to improve health of their communities while making money.
    Community-based vector control programs in both Kenya and Mexico have paid community members to perform vector control activities; However, these programs don’t last because they rely on a constant support from donors or the government. We will overcome this challenge by providing community members with the support needed to generate income from trash to make vector control profitable. Trash, specifically unused containers like bottles, buckets, and tires, can be re-purposed for a variety of profitable items. As part of an ongoing studies, we have conducted meetings where community members expressed interest in creating value from trash, but initial support is needed in the form of start-up funds, mentorship, and skill-building.
    We hypothesize that profitable businesses which motivate community members to remove trash from the community will reduce vector breeding containers. From our ongoing studies, we have identified that the majority of mosquito breeding sites are in unused containers or “trash.” Our team has another project that has identified the potential for community members to collect trash and create value. So far, 250 school children have collected more than one ton of trash consisting of nearly 30,000 containers which they are using to plant trees in school grounds, neighbourhoods and homesteads. This ongoing study has laid the groundwork to spark community members to turn trash into treasure.
    We will conduct our study in two phases:
    Phase 1: Planning Phase: To test whether community-based recycling/repurposing will work, we plan to join with local partners to identify target communities, identify how best to do community mobilization, identify the volumes of waste available, and scope layout of solid waste/recycling industries and market opportunities for the trash. At this time, we have collected estimates of the volumes of waste available through our ongoing community mobilization project. We have also begun to engage outside partners (China) to determine possibilities for recycling out of country. We plan to hold two workshops to engage local partners and build capacity to ensure sustainability.
    Phase 2: Pilot an entrepreneur incubator program. We will invite all community members to a meeting where we will introduce the idea of starting a social enterprise to remove trash from the environment. During the meeting, everyone will be invited to share their ideas about how to create value from trash. Interested individuals will be selected to apply to participate in the social entrepreneurship program where they create and execute business plans.
    Funding from Bova will catalyse this proof-of-concept initiative. To apply our learnings from this 12-month project and to create lasting change, we will apply for further funding to ensure that the social entrepreneurs are on track toward sustainable income and have measurably reduced trash volume and mosquito breeding.

    Location

    Kwale, Kenya

  • The use of spatial video geonarratives to describe localized environmental risk patterns for arboviral transmission in urban Kenya, Stanford University/ Technical University of Mombasa/ Kent State University (3/5/2018 - Present)

    Arthropod-borne viral infections are increasingly common causes of severe disease. They can progress to long-term physical or cognitive impairment or result in early death, especially in children. Existing technologies are unable to capture the dynamic human activities that may affect risk of infection at the local level. To better understand risk factors to inform future efforts of risk mitigation, we will describe environmental risk patterns for arboviral disease transmission in a site which we have described the arbovirology epidemiology in over a decade of ongoing research. We propose to collect spatial video geonarratives (SVG) with local and internationally recognized content experts. Our goal is to produce risk maps and models to identify and control dengue and chikungunya virus foci in urban Kenya. To achieve this goal, we will map and analyze environmental data (e.g. standing water or trash) and link it to related behavior, perceptions of risk, and intervention strategies. Village areas will be mapped using SVG and co-localized with known human arboviral cases to identify environmental risks for spatially clustered cases. SVG is more scalable and reproducible than current methods and enables improved targeting of limited local resources for vector control through existing collaborations with the secretary of health.

    Location

    Kwale, Kenya

Lab Affiliations


Publications

All Publications


  • Serological and spatial analysis of alphavirus and flavivirus prevalence and risk factors in a rural community in western Kenya PLOS NEGLECTED TROPICAL DISEASES Grossi-Soyster, E. N., Cook, E. J., de Glanville, W. A., Thomas, L. F., Krystosik, A. R., Lee, J., Wamae, C., Kariuki, S., Fevre, E. M., LaBeaud, A. 2017; 11 (10): e0005998

    Abstract

    Alphaviruses, such as chikungunya virus, and flaviviruses, such as dengue virus, are (re)-emerging arboviruses that are endemic in tropical environments. In Africa, arbovirus infections are often undiagnosed and unreported, with febrile illnesses often assumed to be malaria. This cross-sectional study aimed to characterize the seroprevalence of alphaviruses and flaviviruses among children (ages 5-14, n = 250) and adults (ages 15 ≥ 75, n = 250) in western Kenya. Risk factors for seropositivity were explored using Lasso regression. Overall, 67% of participants showed alphavirus seropositivity (CI95 63%-70%), and 1.6% of participants showed flavivirus seropositivity (CI95 0.7%-3%). Children aged 10-14 were more likely to be seropositive to an alphavirus than adults (p < 0.001), suggesting a recent transmission period. Alphavirus and flavivirus seropositivity was detected in the youngest participants (age 5-9), providing evidence of inter-epidemic transmission. Demographic variables that were significantly different amongst those with previous infection versus those without infection included age, education level, and occupation. Behavioral and environmental variables significantly different amongst those in with previous infection to those without infection included taking animals for grazing, fishing, and recent village flooding. Experience of recent fever was also found to be a significant indicator of infection (p = 0.027). These results confirm alphavirus and flavivirus exposure in western Kenya, while illustrating significantly higher alphavirus transmission compared to previous studies.

    View details for PubMedID 29040262

  • Community context and sub-neighborhood scale detail to explain dengue, chikungunya and Zika patterns in Cali, Colombia PLOS ONE Krystosik, A. R., Curtis, A., Buritica, P., Ajayakumar, J., Squires, R., Davalos, D., Pacheco, R., Bhatta, M. P., James, M. A. 2017; 12 (8): e0181208

    Abstract

    Cali, Colombia has experienced chikungunya and Zika outbreaks and hypoendemic dengue. Studies have explained Cali's dengue patterns but lack the sub-neighborhood-scale detail investigated here.Spatial-video geonarratives (SVG) with Ministry of Health officials and Community Health Workers were collected in hotspots, providing perspective on perceptions of why dengue, chikungunya and Zika hotspots exist, impediments to control, and social outcomes. Using spatial video and Google Street View, sub-neighborhood features possibly contributing to incidence were mapped to create risk surfaces, later compared with dengue, chikungunya and Zika case data.SVG captured insights in 24 neighborhoods. Trash and water risks in Calipso were mapped using SVG results. Perceived risk factors included proximity to standing water, canals, poverty, invasions, localized violence and military migration. These risks overlapped case density maps and identified areas that are suitable for transmission but are possibly underreporting to the surveillance system.Resulting risk maps with local context could be leveraged to increase vector-control efficiency- targeting key areas of environmental risk.

    View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0181208

    View details for Web of Science ID 000406768200020

    View details for PubMedID 28767730

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5540594

  • Optimization of a Membrane Feeding Assay for Plasmodium vivax Infection in Anopheles albimanus PLOS NEGLECTED TROPICAL DISEASES Vallejo, A. F., Rubiano, K., Amado, A., Krystosik, A. R., Herrera, S., Arevalo-Herrera, M. 2016; 10 (6)

    Abstract

    Individuals exposed to malaria infections for a long time develop immune responses capable of blocking Plasmodium transmission to mosquito vectors, potentially limiting parasite spreading in nature. Development of a malaria TB vaccine requires a better understanding of the mechanisms and main effectors responsible for transmission blocking (TB) responses. The lack of an in vitro culture system for Plasmodium vivax has been an important drawback for development of a standardized method to assess TB responses to this parasite. This study evaluated host, vector, and parasite factors that may influence Anopheles mosquito infection in order to develop an efficient and reliable assay to assess the TB immunity.A total of 94 P. vivax infected patients were enrolled as parasite donors or subjects of direct mosquito feeding in two malaria endemic regions of Colombia (Tierralta, and Buenaventura). Parasite infectiousness was assessed by membrane feeding assay or direct feeding assay using laboratory reared Anopheles mosquitoes. Infection was measured by qPCR and by microscopically examining mosquito midguts at day 7 for the presence of oocysts. Best infectivity was attained in four day old mosquitoes fed at a density of 100 mosquitos/cage. Membrane feeding assays produced statistically significant better infections than direct feeding assays in parasite donors; cytokine profiles showed increased IFN-γ, TNF and IL-1 levels in non-infectious individuals. Mosquito infections and parasite maturation were more reliably assessed by PCR compared to microscopy.We evaluated mosquito, parasite and host factors that may affect the outcome of parasite transmission as measured by artificial membrane feeding assays. Results have led us to conclude that: 1) optimal mosquito infectivity occurs with mosquitoes four days after emergence at a cage density of 100; 2) mosquito infectivity is best quantified by PCR as it may be underestimated by microscopy; 3) host cellular immune response did not appear to significantly affect mosquito infectivity; and 4) no statistically significant difference was observed in transmission between mosquitoes directly feeding on humans and artificial membrane feeding assays.

    View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.pntd.0004807

    View details for Web of Science ID 000379346200052

    View details for PubMedID 27355210