11) Cross-species transmission of viruses from birds to horses

Horses in Mongolia drinking at a water body. Photo credit: Laurent Tatin

Mentor: Dr. Andrew Park group (http://parklab.ecology.uga.edu/)
Abstract: Viruses are notoriously capable of jumping between animal species. However, we’re only beginning to understand the roles of seasonality, contact probability, and host demography in this process. In Mongolia, there are as many horses as people, and they routinely get infected with avian influenza viruses as migrating birds stop over at water bodies in proximity to horses. Our group works with an international team to study bird to horse transmission of influenza in this region. This project will use the data we have collected to develop computational models describing transmission between host species. In particular, the goal is to better understand how season, horse proximity to birds, and horse age influence the probability of horses becoming infected. 
Is the project computational, empirical, or both? Computational, including analysis of data and model building (Using R Studio & R Markdown)