Notre Dame research a “top pick” by Nature Microbiology for Best of 2016

Author: Sarah Craig


Alex Perkins, PhD, Eck Family Assistant Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, and a member of the Eck Institute for Global Health, is among the “Best of 2016” editor’s top 10 picks for the publication Nature Microbiology, a nature research journal. According to the publication, each year the most popular content is chosen to highlight research that is being viewed, shared, blogged, and picked up by the news.

Perkins Alex

Perkins’ paper, Model-based projections of Zika virus infections in childbearing women in the Americas, was ranked #2 for 2016. “It was incredible to see the media attention that this work received,” notes Perkins. “I think that shows what a gap there is between the public’s interest to know what the future holds for Zika and scientists’ limited ability to give them answers to those questions in the early stages of a disease’s emergence. We are making progress, and I think this paper was recognized as an important early contribution to understanding the extent of the Zika threat across the Americas.”

Research in the Perkins Lab applies mathematical modeling to the study of infectious disease transmission dynamics and control, with a focus on mosquito-borne diseases such as Zika, dengue, and malaria.

Aedes Aegypti 300

The Eck Institute for Global Health recognizes health as a fundamental human right and endeavors to promote research, training, and service to advance health standards for all people, especially people in low-and middle-income countries, who are disproportionately impacted by preventable diseases.According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Zika virus is spread mostly by the bite of infected Aedes species mosquitos (Ae. Aegypti and Ae. Albopictus). Zika can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus. Infection during pregnancy can cause certain birth defects. To-date, there is no vaccine or medicine for Zika. Local mosquito-borne Zika virus transmission has been reported in the continental United States.

The University of Notre Dame is a private research and teaching university inspired by its Catholic mission. Located in South Bend, Indiana, its researchers are advancing human understanding through research, scholarship, education, and creative endeavor in order to be a repository for knowledge and a powerful means for doing good in the world.

Originally published by Sarah Craig at on December 22, 2016.