Profile: Jason Blackburn

Dr. Jason Blackburn, Assistant Professor of Geography; and Assistant Research Professor, Emerging Pathogens Institute, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA. Jason s research interests include GIS, remote sensing, ecological niche modeling, disease ecology, spatial distributions of disease, such as anthrax and other bacterial zoonoses.

Jason Blackburn was born and raised in Boulevard, California. He earned his BS in Physical Geography (2001), MS in Medical Geography (2003), and PhD in Medical Geography and Pathobiological Sciences (2006) at Louisiana State University. Jason holds a joint position in Geography and EPI. He came to Florida with expertise in the disease ecology of Bacillus anthracis, the causative agent of anthrax, relative to wildlife and livestock. He was the first to create a predictive model of where Bacillus anthracis is most likely to occur in the contiguous U.S. based upon environmental factors and the presence of wildlife and domestic livestock. Prior to joining EPI, Dr. Blackburn established and directed the Spatial Epidemiology and Ecology Research Laboratory (SEER, which now resides at UFL) at California State University in Fullerton where he was an assistant professor. He has training in geography, remote sensing, epidemiology and ecology. He focuses his research upon understanding the role of wildlife and domestic livestock in fine-resolution background rates of anthrax infection.

Jason’s work in the U.S. currently focuses on parts of the Southwest, while internationally he works across Central and South Asia through collaborative research funded by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency. One aspect of his work involves spatial epidemiology and spatial dimensions of disease outbreaks, and another involves ecological niche modeling to better understand where and what environments might provide long term spore survival of B. anthracis. His other research interests include the spatial patterns of other bacterial zoonoses such as plague, brucellosis, and tularemia. Some of his research in the former Soviet Union countries include these other disease systems. His side projects also include wildlife and marine ecological niche modeling. He has an active collaboration modeling large cats, such as cougars, with the Texas Parks and Wildlife and he has an active National Marine Fisheries Shark Population Assessment Group collaborative project seeking to understand habitat use by sharks and tuna.

Jason may be contacted at jkblackburn@nullufl.edu

Updated: January 2010