Harish’s research focuses on the vulnerability of human health to social and ecological variation at policy-relevant spatial and temporal scales. He integrates empirical and theoretical approaches to study how human and non-human responses to environmental change impact diseases and life history tradeoffs. Specifically, he has been studying how interactions between human and mosquito adaptation to water scarcity and thermal conditions influence the epidemiology of dengue virus across an altitude gradient in Colombia. He has provided mechanistic evidence that urban water insecurity is critical to the force dengue transmission, but that this relationship is modified by human demography and social interactions through the complex feedbacks in the dengue transmission cycle.
At SESYNC, he will synthesize this mechanistic understanding of dengue transmission with community-level socio-demographic and bio-physical data in order to design strategies for actions and policy in ecologically and socially variable cities. Empirical studies will be complemented with the development of a simulation model to explore fundamental aspects of the geography of human social interactions in heterogeneous urban environments. This will identify how actions and policies can synergistically reduce household vulnerability to water uncertainty and the risk of dengue infection. Using the same ecological datasets, he will also undertake an exploratory study on the geography of disease-specific mortality and human age structure across the same Colombian study cities. This work is expected to increase understanding of the underlying socio-ecological drivers of human vulnerability and resiliency to environmental change in heterogeneous and rapidly changing urban environments.