Zoonotic disease

For several years I have collaborated with Dr. Beatrice Hahn’s laboratory (now at the University of Pennsylvania) to study pathogens in wild chimpanzees. This involves field collection of urine and fecal samples from primates at multiple sites across Africa for viral and other screening. Dr. Hahn’s laboratory showed that HIV1, the virus responsible for the global AIDS pandemic, originated from a chimpanzee to human cross-species transmission in West Africa, probably through the bushmeat trade. They also traced the origin of the human malaria parasite to gorillas. Samples from Kanyawara and other sites have helped to determine the prevalence and genetic diversity of SIVcpz in chimpanzee communities throughout equatorial Africa, and to describe the natural history of SIVcpz infection in wild chimpanzees.