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Isabel Jones

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Graduate Student Research Funding | 2017 - 2018 Academic Year

Solutions to Improve Health and Alleviate Poverty in Madagascar

Schistosomiasis is a disease of poverty infecting over 250 million people worldwide. Anecdotal evidence suggests that farmers in Madagascar raise ducks as a specific defense against schistosomiasis, as ducks are voracious predators of the parasite’s intermediate host, freshwater snails. Ducks are also a rich protein-source known to control agricultural pests and provide fertilizer to resource-poor communities. This leads to an important question: is duck-farming a win-win solution to control disease and alleviate poverty? Jones proposes to explore if and how ducks control schistosomiasis in Madagascar, and assess feasibility of scaling up duck production to epidemiologically and economically significant levels.

Isabel Jones, Department of Biology

Isabel Jones

Isabel Jones studies the ecology of parasites and their hosts, including humans – how does disease transmission interact with biodiversity, land-use change, and poverty? Ecosystem services that reduce disease may be common in some settings; identifying and preserving specific ecological actors (like natural enemies) or mechanisms (like forest conservation) that reduce disease could simultaneously help people and the planet. To this end, she conducts field-based research aimed at finding solutions for disease control that intersect with the goals of conservation and poverty alleviation.

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