Program Sponsored by: Ecohealth Alliance


Interdisciplinary collaborations needed in infectious disease studies

A perspective piece recently published in PLOS Biology highlights the importance of interdisciplinary collaborations between ecological- and infectious disease-oriented bat researchers. The paper was co-authored by Dr. Tigga Kingston, a member of the WAB-Net Scientific Advisor Board.

Abstract: Human perturbation of natural systems is accelerating the emergence of infectious diseases, mandating integration of disease and ecological research. Bats have been associated with recent zoonoses, but our bibliometric analysis of coauthor relationships identified a separation of bat ecologists and infectious disease researchers with few cross-disciplinary relationships. Of 5,645 papers, true interdisciplinary collaborations occurred primarily in research focused on White Nose Syndrome (WNS). This finding is important because it illustrates how research with outcomes favoring both bat conservation and disease mitigation promotes domain integration and network connectivity. We advocate for increased engagement between ecology and infectious researchers to address such common causes and suggest that efforts focus on leveraging existing activities, building interdisciplinary projects, and networking individuals and networks to integrate domains and coordinate resources. We provide specific opportunities for pursuing these strategies through the Bat One Health Research Network (BOHRN).

Kading RC, Kingston T (2020) Common ground: The foundation of interdisciplinary research on bat disease emergence. PLoS Biol 18(11): e3000947.