Episode 51: In Search of Outbreaks

Crystal Hepp

Crystal Hepp Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Pathogen and Microbiome Division

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For Crystal Hepp, PhD, the newest member of the TGen North team, understanding how different pathogens move over time and space and through different populations is all in a day’s work. Recently, that work has centered heavily on RNA viruses, and given that the translational aspects of her work aligned seamlessly with the TGen North team and its mission, the decision to join the team came fairly easy.
  Spread through the bite of the common house mosquito, West Nile virus is the leading cause of mosquito-borne disease in the United States. Hepp discusses her work with county vector control agencies throughout the southwest to collect and test mosquitoes, work that helps identify locations that are viral hot zones. 
  Additionally, Dr. Hepp discusses a unique method for collecting local wastewater samples across wastewater treatment plants, local school districts, and university residence halls testing for COVID —a partnership between the City of Flagstaff, Coconino County Health Services, Northern Arizona University, and TGen— and plans for a study to look for coronaviruses in different animal populations to understand which populations might be able to be reservoir species, then estimate when or if spillover back into humans could occur.
  All this and more on TGen Talks.