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New Graduate Continues Important Work

Posted on Monday, June 17, 2024

Marina Mancuso, the Ralph and Sandra Matteucci scholar for two years, graduated in December from Arizona State University. Her PhD dissertation was titled, "Climate and Infection-Age on West Nile Virus Transmission." As an applied mathematician, Marina bridges the knowledge obtained from other fields of science, such as biology and climate science, with mathematical concepts that help us prepare for how climate change will affect future mosquito-borne disease transmission. "The mosquito lifecycle and disease transmission are directly impacted by environmental factors such as temperature and precipitation. Under anticipated climate change scenarios, we can use this information to predict how mosquito populations and WNV will expand and shift over the next several decades," Marina explains.

One chapter of her dissertation included work she completed as an intern at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. This work was part of a larger initiative called the Climate Integrated Model for Mosquito-borne Infectious Diseases (CIMMID), an interdisciplinary project involving more than 50 applied mathematicians, statisticians, biologists, earth systems scientists, epidemiologists, and computer scientists. Marina notes, "My experience with CIMMID has helped me improve my scientific communication skills and prepare to share my work with the general public." She plans to continue her work at the Los Alamos National Laboratory as a postdoc next year, continuing to research public health issues related to our national security. 

Marina says, "My favorite part about ARCS has been building a relationship with my sponsor, Sandra. We look forward to catching up at ARCS events, and this past year we joined her and her family over the Thanksgiving holiday. I am very grateful that we were connected through ARCS, and look forward to continuing this relationship beyond my time as her Scholar."