Assistant Professor of Ecology, Evolutionary Biology & Public Affairs
Jessica Metcalf is a demographer with broad interests in evolutionary ecology, infectious disease dynamics and public policy. She completed her PhD at Imperial College on the evolutionary demography of monocarpic perennials. Her post-doctoral research was conducted at various institutions. She studied the evolution of senescence at the Max Planck Institute of Demographic Research, the inference of tree demographic parameters at Duke University, and infectious disease dynamics at Pennsylvania State University and Princeton University.
Questions of particular interest include: How will changing human demography impact infectious disease incidence and spread? What drives dynamics of rubella through space and time, and what does this indicate for vaccine control? What are the key influences on dynamics of malaria inside the bloodstream of mice, and what does this imply for control as well as evolution of the parasite? When should reproduction occur in plants where reproduction is fatal (from an evolutionary perspective) and can we link this back to the genetic background using the model plant system, Arabidopsis thaliana? How long do trees live and what does this imply for rates of carbon turnover and recovery following the spread of forest pathogens?
Metcalf’s teaching focuses on a course titled Epidemiology: An Ecological and Evolutionary Perspective. Her course aims to communicate both an understanding of the core principles of epidemiology (ranging from classical study designs to core analytical techniques) and a broader perspective into the fundamental drivers of health outcomes (ranging from ecological drivers of the spread of infectious disease to the evolutionary determinants of profiles of late age mortality).