Michael Z. Levy, PhD

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Associate Professor of Epidemiology in Biostatistics and Epidemiology
Department: Biostatistics and Epidemiology

Contact information
714 Blockley Hall
423 Guardian Drive
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6021
Office: 215-746-8131
B.A. (Interdisciplinary major (Philosophy and Biology))
Amherst College, 1998.
PhD (Population Biology, Ecology and Evolution)
Emory University, 2007.
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Description of Research Expertise

I am an interdisciplinary researcher. I have focused most of my career on insect vectors of infectious diseases, specifically Chagas disease. But the health impacts of insects go beyond the pathogens they transmit—my work on bed bugs has drawn me into housing policy, economics, and social justice—work which naturally extended into modeling of the effect of evictions during the Covid-19 pandemic. Insects are also critical actors in climactic change, both as causes of massive deforestation, and as victims of cataclysmic diversity loss. I have followed the insects into these broader issues; and I’ve seen that the greatest challenges to our health defy disciplines and strain the ties of traditional epidemiological methods.

The heart of my research program is the University of Pennsylvania / Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia Zoonotic disease research laboratory in Arequipa, Peru. I founded and co-direct this laboratory, which currently employs 28 full-time staff & students, including biologists, epidemiologists, veterinarians, social scientists, health communicators, and insecticide applicators. Working with the Ministry of Health we have helped control a Chagas disease epidemic in a city of one million inhabitants and are working to stem an emerging epidemic of canine Rabies.

Selected Publications

Xie Sherrie, Hill Alison L, Rehmann Chris R, Levy Michael Z: Dynamics of bed bug infestations and control under disclosure policies. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 116(13): 6473-6481, Mar 2019.

Rose Erica Billig, Lee Kwonsang, Roy Jason A, Small Dylan, Ross Michelle E, Castillo-Neyra Ricardo, Levy Michael Z: Risk maps for cities: Incorporating streets into geostatistical models. Spatial and spatio-temporal epidemiology 27: 47-59, 11 2018.

Gutfraind Alexander, Peterson Jennifer K, Billig Rose Erica, Arevalo-Nieto Claudia, Sheen Justin, Condori-Luna Gian Franco, Tankasala Narender, Castillo-Neyra Ricardo, Condori-Pino Carlos, Anand Priyanka, Naquira-Velarde Cesar, Levy Michael Z: Integrating evidence, models and maps to enhance Chagas disease vector surveillance. PLoS neglected tropical diseases 12(11): e0006883, Nov 2018 Notes: https://journals.plos.org/plosntds/article?id=10.1371/journal.pntd.0006883.

Barbu Corentin M, Sethuraman Karthik, Billig Erica M W, Levy Michael Z: Two-scale dispersal estimation for biological invasions via synthetic likelihood. Ecography 41(4): 661-672, Apr 2018.

Buttenheim Alison M, Paz-Soldán Valerie A, Castillo-Neyra Ricardo, Toledo Vizcarra Amparo M, Borrini-Mayori Katty, McGuire Molly, Arevalo-Nieto Claudia, Volpp Kevin G, Small Dylan S, Behrman Jere R, Naquira-Verlarde Cesar, Levy Michael Z: Increasing participation in a vector control campaign: a cluster randomised controlled evaluation of behavioural economic interventions in Peru. BMJ global health 3(5): e000757, 2018.

Castillo-Neyra Ricardo, Brown Joanna, Borrini Katty, Arevalo Claudia, Levy Michael Z, Buttenheim Alison, Hunter Gabrielle C, Becerra Victor, Behrman Jere, Paz-Soldan Valerie A: Barriers to dog rabies vaccination during an urban rabies outbreak: Qualitative findings from Arequipa, Peru. PLoS neglected tropical diseases 11(3): e0005460, 03 2017.

Castillo-Neyra Ricardo, Zegarra Edith, Monroy Ynes, Bernedo Reyno F, Cornejo-Rosello Ismael, Paz-Soldan Valerie A, Levy Michael Z: Spatial Association of Canine Rabies Outbreak and Ecological Urban Corridors, Arequipa, Peru. Tropical medicine and infectious disease 2(3), Aug 2017.

Andrew Hong, Corentin M. Barbu, Dylan S. Small, Michael Z Levy: Mapping the Spatial Distribution of a Disease Transmitting Insect in the Presence of Surveillance Error and Missing Data. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society: Series A 178(3): 641-658, Jun 2015 Notes: in press.

Salazar R, Castillo-Neyra R, Tustin AW, Borrini-Mayorí K, Náquira C, Levy MZ: Bed Bugs (Cimex lectularius) as Vectors of Trypanosoma cruzi. Am J Trop Med Hyg 92(2): 331-5, Feb 2015.

Levy MZ, Quispe V, Ylla-Velasquez JL, Waller LA, Richards JM, Rath B, Borrini-Mayori K, del Carpio JG, Cordova-Benzaquen E, McKenzie FE, Wirtz RA, Maguire JH, Gilman RH, Bern C.: Impregnated netting slows infestation by Triatoma infestans. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 79(4): 528-34, Oct 2008 Notes: http://www.ajtmh.org/content/79/4/528.long.

Levy MZ, Malaga F, Cornejo del Carpio JG, Vilhena D, McKenzie FE, Plotkin JB: Rational spatio-temporal strategies for Controlling a Chagas Disease Vector in Urban Environments. Journal of the Royal Society Interface 7(48): 1061-70, Jul 2010 Notes: http://rsif.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/7/48/1061.long.

Levy MZ, Small D, Vilhena DA, Cornejo Del Carpio JG, Gilman RH, Bern C, Plotkin JB.: Retracing micro-epidemics of Chagas disease using epicenter regression. PLoS Computational Biology 7(9): e1002146, Sep 2011 Notes: http://www.ploscompbiol.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pcbi.1002146.

Barbu CM, Hong A, Manne JM, Small DS, Quintanilla Calderón JE, Sethuraman K, Quispe-Machaca V, Ancca-Juárez J, Cornejo del Carpio JG, Málaga Chavez FS, Náquira C, Levy MZ: The Effects of City Streets on an Urban Disease Vector. PLoS Computational Biology 9(1), 2013 Notes: epub doi: 10.1371.

Wu Y, Tracy DM, Barbarin AM, Barbu CM, Levy MZ.: A door-to-door survey of bed bug (Cimex lectularius) infestations in row homes in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 91(1): 206-10, Jul 2014.

Levy MZ, Barbu CM, Castillo-Neyra R, Quispe-Machaca VR, Ancca-Juarez J, Escalante-Mejia P, Borrini-Mayori K, Niemierko M, Mabud TS, Behrman JR, Naquira-Velarde C; Chagas Disease Working Group in Arequipa, Peru.: Urbanization, Land Tenure Security, and Vector-borne Chagas disease. Proceedings of the Royal Society Series B 281(1789), Aug 2014 Notes: epub doi: 10.1098.

Barbu CM, Buttenheim AM, Pumahuanca ML, Calderón JE, Salazar R, Carrión M, Rospigliossi AC, Chavez FS, Alvarez KO, Cornejo del Carpio J, Náquira C, Levy MZ: Residual infestation and recolonization in an urban Triatoma infestans control campaign. Emerging Infectious Diseases 20(12): 2055-63, Dec 2014 Notes: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/20/12/pdfs/13-1820.pdf.

Levy MZ, Tustin A, Castillo-Neyra R, Mabud TS, Levy K, Barbu CM, Quispe-Machaca VR, Ancca-Juarez JM, Borrini-Mayori K, Naquira-Velarde C, Ostfeld RS: Bottlenecks in domestic animal populations can facilitate the emergence of Trypanosoma cruzi, the aetiological agent of Chagas disease. Proc Biol Sci 282(1810), June 2015 Notes: doi: 10.1098/rspb.2014.2807.

LaDeau Shannon L, Allan Brian F, Leisnham Paul T, Levy Michael Z: The ecological foundations of transmission potential and vector-borne disease in urban landscapes. Functional ecology 29: 889-901, Jul 2015.

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Last updated: 03/30/2021
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