Department of Epidemiology
Kara is a postdoc in the Institute for Global Health and Infectious Diseases at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. Kara received her MPH in Molecular Epidemiology from the University of Michigan School of Public Health in 2013. She then completed her PhD in Molecular Epidemiology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine’s Institute for Genome Sciences, under the supervision of Drs. Joana Silva and Christopher Plowe, in 2018. Her thesis work concentrated on generating high-quality reference assemblies using next- and third-generation sequencing platforms to characterize P. falciparum strains used in whole-organism malaria vaccines and controlled human malaria infections. The developed assembly methods also led to the generation of numerous new assemblies for clinical isolates from different malaria endemic regions, which were used for comparative genomic analyses and the identification of geographic-specific structural variants that affect gene structure and impact parasite fitness.
Kara joined the IDEEL lab as a postdoc in August 2018. The development of new sequencing technology has left in its wake a vast resource of genetic and genomic data, the scale of which present daunting challenges on how to efficiently incorporate these data into sound epidemiologic studies. Kara’s current research interests focus on how epidemiology, genomics, and bioinformatics can assist infectious disease research and inform public health interventions using these data. At IDEEL, she will be working on population-level genetic analyses using both whole-genome and targeted sequence data to describe patterns of parasite population structure and transmission.