Michael Z. Levy, PhD

faculty photo
Professor of Epidemiology in Biostatistics and Epidemiology
Director, University of Pennsylvania/Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia Zoontic Disease Field Laboratory in Arequipa, Peru
Senior Scholar, Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine
Senior Fellow, Center for Public Health Initiatives
Associated Faculty, History and Sociology of Science, School of Arts and Sciences, University of Pennsylvania
Faculty Member, Latin American and Latinx Studies (LALS)
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

Nande A, Sheen J (co-first author), Walters EL, Klein B, Chinazzi M, Gheorghe A, Adlam B, Shinnick J, Tejeda MF, Scarpino SV, Vespignani A, eAndrew J Greenlee, Daniel Schneider, Michael Z Levy co-final/corresponding author with Alison L Hill: The effect of eviction moratoria on the transmission of SARS-CoV-2. Nature Communications 12(1): 2274, Apr 2021.

Nande A, Adlam B, Sheen J, Levy MZ, Hill AL.: Dynamics of COVID-19 under social distancing measures are driven by transmission network structure. PLOS Computational Biology 17(2): e1008684, Feb 2021.

Michael Levy: Kindling, Logs & Coal: The Dynamics of T. cruzi transmission in Arequipa, Peru. Population Biology of Vector-Borne Diseases Edited by John M. Drake, Michael Bonsall, and Michael Strand. Oxford University Press, February 2021.

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.

Brinkley Raynor, Elvis W Díaz, Julianna Shinnick, Edith Zegarra, Ynes Monroy, Claudia Mena, Micaela De la Puente-León, Michael Z Levy, Ricardo Castillo-Neyra: The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on rabies reemergence in Latin America: The case of Arequipa, Peru. PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases(5), 2021.

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.

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, Nov 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, Sep 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, Mar 2017.

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.

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.

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.

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, 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.

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): 38, Aug 2017.

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.

Erica Billig Rose, Jason A.Roy, RicardoCastillo-Neyra, Michelle E.Ross, Carlos Condori-Pino, Jennifer K.Peterson, Cesar Naquira-Velarde, Michael Z. Levy: A real-time search strategy for finding urban disease vector infestations. Epidemiologic Methods 9(1): 20200001, May 2020.

Larson A, Paz-Soldan V, Arevalo C, Brown J, Condori-Pino C, Levy M, Neyra RC. : Misuse, perceived risk, and safety issues of household insecticides: qualitative findings from focus groups in Arequipa, Peru. PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases 15(5): e0009251, May 2021.

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Last updated: 01/25/2024
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