- Biological Sciences
- College of Science
Dr. Hawley studies the ecology and evolution of infectious diseases in wildlife hosts, with a specialization in birds.
Pathogens are colonizing novel host populations with increasing frequency, underscoring the need to understand what factors drive infectious disease spread and the evolution of more harmful pathogens. Dr. Hawley’s research program investigates the ecological and evolutionary mechanisms that underlie host susceptibility, pathogen virulence (i.e., the amount of harm that pathogens cause their hosts), and infectious disease transmission. She currently studies disease dynamics in the context of two broad frameworks: 1) social behavior and disease, and 2) the evolution of pathogen virulence in a novel host. She approaches disease ecology from a multi-disciplinary perspective in order to understand how individual physiology, pathogen characteristics such as virulence, social behavior, and environmental context all interact to influence infectious disease dynamics. Ultimately, these studies will improve our understanding of the broader processes that underlie pathogen evolution and spread in wild animal, domestic animal, and human populations.