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Daniel Becker

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Daniel J. Becker

Assistant Professor of Biology


Ph.D., University of Georgia
B.A., Bard College
405-325-4821 (Phone)
405-325-6202 (Fax)


curriculum vitae

Research Interests

Research in my lab broadly aims to identify the ecological and evolutionary factors that determine infectious disease dynamics in reservoir hosts and cross-species transmission. We combine a range of approaches, including spatiotemporal field studies, theoretical models, immunology, machine learning, and phylogenetic comparative methods, to better understand how pathogens spread within and between wildlife populations and species and how environmental change will alter infection dynamics.

Much of our research focuses on zoonotic pathogens in bats and birds as tractable and relevant study systems, but we are fundamentally driven by questions and often embrace entirely computational approaches. Some current topics of interest include (1) how anthropogenic diet shifts and agricultural land use affect pathogen transmission, (2) how migration interacts with urbanization to shape disease risk, (3) identifying key seasonal and environmental drivers of immunity, and (4) integrating data on host competence into predictive models of reservoir species. These themes are united around using models to generate field-testable predictions. Ultimately, our work aims to develop fundamental insights into the ecology and evolution of infectious disease while also better guiding surveillance and management.

Representative Publications

  • Neely BA, Janech MG, MB Fenton, Simmons NB, Bland AM, Becker DJ. 2021. Surveying the vampire bat (Desmodus rotundus) serum proteome: a resource for identifying immunological proteins and detecting pathogens. Journal of Proteome Research 20(5):2547–2559.
  • Becker DJ, Seifert SN, Carlson CJ. 2020. Beyond infection: integrating competence into reservoir host prediction. Trends in Ecology & Evolution.
  • Becker DJ, Broos A, Bergner LM, Meza DK, Simmons NB, Fenton MB, Altizer S, Streicker DG. 2020. Temporal patterns of vampire bat rabies and host connectivity in Belize. Transboundary and Emerging Diseases.
  • Becker DJ, Ketterson ED, Hall RJ. 2020. Reactivation of latent infections with migration shapes population-level disease dynamics. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 287:20201829.
  • Becker DJ, Speer KA, Brown AM, Fenton MB, Washburne AD, Altizer S, Streicker DG, Plowright RK,  Chizhikov VE, Simmons NB, Volokhov DV. 2020. Ecological and evolutionary drivers of haemoplasma infection and bacterial genotype sharing in a Neotropical bat community. Molecular Ecology​ 29(8):1534–49.
  • Becker DJ, Albery GF, Kessler MK, Lunn T, Falvo CA, Czirják GÁ, Martin LM, Plowright RK. 2020. Macroimmunology: the drivers and consequences of spatial patterns in wildlife immune defense. Journal of Animal Ecology 89(4):972–95.
  • Bergner LM, Orton RJ, Benavides JA, Becker DJ, Tello C, Biek R, Streicker DG. 2020. Demographic and environmental drivers of metagenomic viral diversity in vampire bats. Molecular Ecology 29(1):26–39.
  • Becker DJ, Schultz EM, Atwell JW, Ketterson ED. 2019. Urban residency and leukocyte profiles in a traditionally migratory songbird. Animal Migration 6(1):49–59.
  • Plowright RK, Becker DJ, Crowley DE, Washburne AD, Huang T, Nameer PO, Gurley ES, Han BA. 2019. Prioritizing surveillance of Nipah virus in India. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases 13(6):e0007393.
  • Becker DJ, Czirjak GA, Volokhov DV, Bentz AB, Carrera JE, Camus MS, Navara KJ, Chizhikov VE, Simmons NB, Fenton MB, Recuenco SE, ​Gilbert AT, Altizer S, Streicker DG. 2018. Livestock abundance predicts vampire bat demography, immune profiles, and bacterial infection risk. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 373(1745):20170089.
  • Becker DJ, Streicker DG, Altizer S. 2015. Linking anthropogenic resources to wildlife-pathogen dynamics: a review and meta-analysis. Ecology Letters 10.1111/ele.1242.