Vanessa Ezenwa

Adjunct Faculty
Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Yale University
Graduate Program Faculty

Professional Website


Ph.D. – Princeton University

B. A. – Rice University

Research Interests

Research Interests

  • Ecology and evolution of infectious diseases
  • Behavioral ecology
  • Host physiology and behavior as drivers of variation in parasite susceptibility and exposure
  • Links between biodiversity loss and infectious disease

Research Projects

Effects of host behavior on parasitism and the role of parasites in the evolution of host behavior; co-infection and its consequences for patterns of disease at multiple scales; community ecology of infectious disease from the host and parasite perspectives. My lab is currently addressing these questions in ungulate host systems in both the western U.S. and sub-saharan Africa.

Selected Publications

Ezenwa, V. O., Etienne, RS, Luikart, G, Beja-Pereira, A and Jolles, A. E. 2010. Hidden consequences of living in a wormy world: nematode-induced immune suppression facilitates TB invasion in African buffalo. American Naturalist, in press.

Archie, E. A. and Ezenwa, V. O. 2010. Population genetic structure and history of a generalist parasite infecting multiple sympatric host species. International Journal for Parasitology, in press.

Pongsiri, M. J., Roman, J, Ezenwa, V. O., Goldberg, T. L., Koren, H., Newbold, S., Ostfeld, R.S., Pattanayak, S., and Salked, D. J. 2009. Biodiversity loss and the new global disease ecology, Bioscience, 59: 945-954.

Archie, E. A., Luikart, G. and Ezenwa, V. O. 2009. Infecting epidemiology with genetics: a new frontier in disease ecology. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 24:21-30.

Ezenwa, V. O. and A. E. Jolles. 2008. Horns honestly advertise parasite infection in male and female African buffalo, Animal Behaviour, 75:2013-2021.

Jolles, A. E., Ezenwa, V. O., Etienne, R., Turner, W. and H. Olff. 2008. Interactions between macroparasites and microparasites drive patterns of infection in free-ranging African buffalo. Ecology, 89:2239-2250.

Luikart, G., Pilgrim, K., Visty, J., Ezenwa, V. O., and M. K. Schwartz. 2008. Candidate gene microsatellite variation is associated with parasitism in wild bighorn sheep. Biology Letters, 4: 228-231.

Ezenwa, V.O., Milheim, L.E., Coffey, M.F., Godsey, M.S., King, R.J. and S.C. Guptill. 2007. Land cover variation and West Nile virus prevalence: patterns, processes and implications for disease control. Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases, 7: 173-180.

Ezenwa, V. O., Price S. A., Altizer, S., Vitone, N. D. and K. C. Cook. 2006. Host traits and parasite species richness in even and odd-toed mammals (Artiodactyla and Perissodactyla). Oikos, 115: 526-536.

Ezenwa, V.O., Godsey, M.S., King, R.J. and S.C. Guptill. 2006. Avian diversity and West Nile virus: testing associations between biodiversity and infectious disease risk. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B, 273: 109-117.

Ezenwa, V.O. 2004. Interactions among host diet, nutritional status and gastrointestinal parasite infection in wild bovids. International Journal for Parasitology, 34: 535-542.

Ezenwa, V.O. 2004. Host social behavior and parasitic infection: a multifactorial approach. Behavioral Ecology, 15: 446-454.

Ezenwa, V.O. 2004. Selective defecation and selective foraging: antiparasite behavior in wild ungulates? Ethology, 110: 851-862.