Profiles in Health Geography: Margaret Carrel

Originally Posted:  May 2011

Updated:  TBA

Margaret Carrel, Assistant Professor of Geography, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, USA. Maggie’s research focuses on human-environmental interactions as they relate to infectious disease outcomes. Her expertise is in disease ecology, modeling molecular evolution of human pathogens and the use of GIS and spatial statistics to understand patterns of disease. She is serving a two-year term as HMGSG at-large board member.

Maggie Carrel earned her BA in International Relations and Japanese from American University in Washington, DC, and both her MA and PhD in Geography from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Her master’s work considered the impact of flood protection on cholera incidence in Matlab, Bangladesh, while her dissertation examined the population and environmental drivers of H5N1 avian influenza molecular evolution in Vietnam.

Maggie conducts medical geography/spatial epidemiology research using geographic information systems (GIS) and spatial modeling techniques. The focus of her current and future research is to explore how complex interactions between people and environments result both in disease outcomes and the progressive evolution of human pathogens. This latter research emphasis is situated in the emergent field of landscape genetics, which combines the spatial analytic techniques of landscape ecology and geography with the computational methods of population genetics. Maggie is applying these landscape genetics methods to the study of H5N1 influenza in Vietnam, H1N1 in China and HIV drug resistance in North Carolina. She also continues to work on diarrheal disease research in rural Bangladesh, examining how the installation of flood control measures and deep drinking water tubewells interact to produce or prevent diarrheal events. Maggie’s work has been published in Environmental Health, Health and Place, PLoS One and the Bulletin of the WHO. Her teaching interests include Medical Geography, Disease Ecology, Population Geography and GIS applications for health.