Landsat Gives Epidemiologists Key Insights

2020-03-09

Dr. Bisanzio trained as a veterinarian— he earned both a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and a Ph.D in Veterinary Medicine from the University of Turin — before becoming an epidemiologist.

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As a vet student, Dr. Bisanzio had originally planned to go into orthopedic surgery, but after joining a research team that was studying Lyme disease in a nature reserve in Tuscany he changed course. The team used a geographic information system (GIS) and Landsat satellite imagery to find habitats that were favorable to the Lyme-carrying Ixode ricinus tick. Dr. Bisanzio and the epi-team headed into the field to collect ticks to confirm their satellite-based risk zone maps. Dr. Bisanzio recalls, “I was fascinated by the possibility of linking ground-level work with satellite surveys to describe the abundance of ticks and how this would impact human health.” His new course was set.