Dr. Fernandez is an assistant professor at the Allen School for Global Animal Health at Washington State University and principal investigator in the federal grant that funds this project. As a disease ecologist her research focuses on the eco-epidemiology of zoonotic diseases, and in particular, vector-borne diseases. She graduated from the University of Buenos Aires and has worked primarily on Chagas disease in Argentina, and tick-borne diseases in the Northeast USA during her time as a postdoc at Columbia University. Her main research interests lay in understanding the transmission of zoonotic diseases as complex socio-ecological systems, combining methods from epidemiology and ecology. The ultimate goal of her research is to identify critical factors affecting disease transmission, which will aid in the design of improved intervention strategies to alleviate the biological and socio-economic burden of these diseases in affected communities.