Stephanie Mundis, PhD Candidate
Quantitative Disease Ecology & Conservation Lab, Geography Department
Emerging Pathogens Institute
University of Florida

Supervisor: Sadie Ryan, PhD
Core 2: Data Management, Biostatistical & Communications Core

Stephanie Mundis is a PhD candidate in the Quantitative Disease Ecology & Conservation Lab in the Geography Department and Emerging Pathogens Institute at the University of Florida. She completed her Bachelors at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in Anthropology and Geography. From there she completed two masters degrees at New Mexico State University in Geography and Biology. Stephanie’s masters thesis focused on Aedes aegypti species distribution modeling in New Mexico. She collected data in 24 counties in the state in urban areas to locate where Aedes aegypti was collected, then used MaxEnt and logistic regression models to determine where Aedes aegypti was found and where it may spread given climate change scenarios.

Stephanie collecting mosquitoes during fieldwork

Stephanie’s dissertation at University of Florida focuses on applying spatial analysis to understand vector population and understand characteristics that mediate vector borne disease.
Mosquito traps from Stephanie’s fieldwork

Her first chapter focuses on insecticide resistance in Aedes aegypti populations in Florida. This research will help mosquito control districts to have maps where there are still susceptible populations and resistant populations. Stephanie used cluster analysis to determine how likely neighboring mosquitoes are to be resistant and at what scale there may be clusters of resistance. This was done using spatial analyses such as Ripley’s K to establish spatial scale and SatScan to determine the location and scale of the clusters. Beta regression modeling was used to look at the proportion of resistance at each of the sampled sites and how this was influenced based on historical insecticide use and landscape variables as predictors. To learn more about this research you can read the full paper here.

Moving forward, she is working on using mosquito abundance and weather station data from Orange County, Florida, to identify ecological precursors to Eastern Equine Encephalitis Virus (EEEV) detection in sentinel chicken flocks that are monitored by Orange County Mosquito Control. This modelling work aims to determine which factors can be used to predict the timing and location of EEEV activity, allowing for targeted interventions by mosquito control professionals.

Stephanie presenting research at the Emerging Pathogens Institute Research Day

Stephanie has received several scholarships and awards over her time at UF. In Fall 2018, she won the Southeastern Division of the American Association of Geographers (SEDAAG) Doctoral Student paper award presenting the preliminary results for her study on insecticide resistance in Aedes aegypti populations in Florida. In Fall 2019, she received the Department of Geography, University of Florida, Evan Coe Medical Geography Award as well as the Florida Mosquito Control Association TW Miller Scholarship, and the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation Scholarship.

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