Nichola Hill

Post-Doctoral Associate
Contact Email: nhill@mit.edu

Joined the Lab: April 2012

Education:
  • PhD, Biological Sciences, Macquarie University, Australia (2004-2008)
  • BSc (Honours), Environmental Science, University of New South Wales, Australia (1998-2002)


Research Summary: I study the natural and unnatural (human) history of influenza viruses with the goal of understanding which ecological conditions are conducive to host-switching. I’m currently investigating how influenza transmission in the wild bird reservoir is enhanced by human activities, including urbanization, farming and agriculture. At the Runstadler Lab, we target wild bird populations where the interface with humans and other spillover hosts is large. My study species include gulls in Alaska and Massachusetts where the abundance and distribution of gull populations is changing in response to urbanization of coastlines. Using ecological (banding, telemetry) and molecular (phylogenetic) tools, I am characterizing how resource pulses can aggregate hosts, driving adaptation and reassortment of influenza viruses.

About Me: When not chasing wild birds, you can find me biking, birding, swimming or on a yoga mat or tango dancefloor (ole!).

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