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Interdisciplinary Spatial Informatics for Global Health

The INSIGHT research lab is situated at the University of Ottawa's School of Epidemiology & Public Health. INSIGHT is uniquely equipped to identify pathogens in disease vectors using molecular diagnostic approaches, conduct epidemiological studies, and perform geospatial analysis of health and environmental data. Students at INSIGHT gain experience in field, laboratory and analytic methods, and have the opportunity to participate in international collaborative research projects led by Dr. Kulkarni.

Dr. Manisha Kulkarni

Dr. Manisha Kulkarni 
Associate Professor & Director, INSIGHT Lab |
Assistant Dean, Global Health, Faculty of Medicine

As a medical entomologist and public health scientist, I'm interested in finding solutions to improve disease prevention and control. My main research focus is on vector-borne diseases in tropical and temperate regions of the world. I'm also interested in evaluating and optimizing vector control interventions to improve the effectiveness of disease prevention efforts, and capacity building in resource poor settings. Prior to joining the University of Ottawa in 2014, I worked in international development and public health organizations and led research projects in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America. At INSIGHT, I bring together methods and approaches from different disciplines using a One Health lens to tackle complex challenges related to emerging vector-borne diseases, and to better understand how climate change and other socio-ecological drivers are contributing to disease transmission and risk in global settings.

What's happening at INSIGHT

May 2024 -- Dr. Kulkarni was featured in the ClimateNow podcast 'Climate Change Bites: The Proliferation of Vector-Borne Diseases' (Episode 159) speaking about INSIGHT's research tracking emerging tick and mosquito-borne disease, and how climate change adaptation measures can help - you can listen to it here!

April 2024 -- Undergraduate student Kiley Mackenzie presented her BCH honours project poster at the Annual Research Day showing results of tick surveillance from the first year of our UPTick project - Phase II.


February 2024 -- Dr. Manisha Kulkarni has been appointed Scientific Director for the Canadian Lyme Disease Research Network (TickNet Canada).

November 2023 -- Check out our latest paper just published in EcoHealth by Benoit Talbot, Manisha Kulkarni and colleagues at the National Microbiology Lab at PHAC entitled "Ecological Niche and Positive Clusters of Two West Nile Virus Vectors in Ontario, Canada".

November 2023 -- Dr. Kulkarni was awarded the 2023 Faculty of Medicine Award for Leadership in Global Health!

November 2023 -- Dr. Kulkarni and Claudia Duguay participated in the first ever Climate Fresk Workshop organized at uOttawa by the Global Health Program at IGHO to promote climate education!

October 2023 -- It's conference season! Claudia Duguay presented her work on malaria and schistosomiasis in Tanzania at the ASTMH Annual Meeting, while several members of the INSIGHT Lab -- Michala Norman, Renee Schryer, Andrew Meyer, Roman McKay, Jay Logan, Amber Hoi and Manisha Kulkarni -- attended the TickNet Canada Annual Symposium to present on projects related to climate change adaptation, urban change, and tick-borne diseases.

September 2023 -- Dr. Manisha Kulkarni and SEPH colleague Dr. Hawre Jalal have been awarded funding from the Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI) for cutting-edge field and lab equipment and high-performance computing infrastructure to advance the modelling of Lyme disease risk and assess the cost-effectiveness of interventions. This funding will support innovative research and an interdisciplinary training environment on vector-borne diseases at SEPH-uOttawa!

September 2023 -- Dr. Kulkarni gave an invited talk to the Macnamara Field Naturalists’ Club on the spread of ticks that carry Lyme disease in eastern Ontario.

August 2023 -- check out the new papers by INSIGHT team members Claudia Duguay, investigating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on malaria control in Benin (PLOS Global Public Health), and Jay Logan, investigating residential exposure to Lyme disease in Ottawa (PLOS ONE)!

July 2023 -- Roman McKay, Andrew Meyer and Manisha Kulkarni took part in the Otty Lake Flotilla event again this year, joining other experts and naturalists from Ontario Parks and the National Capital Commission, speaking to residents about ticks and tick-borne diseases.

June 2023 -- Dr. Manisha Kulkarni and MPH student Amarachi Asomugha travelled to Moshi, Tanzania where they led a 3-day workshop funded by CIHR. This "International Planning Meeting on Climate Change and Vector-borne Diseases" brought together 22 participants from Tanzania, Benin and UK to establish research priorities and develop future collaborative research initiatives addressing climate change adaptation.

May 2023 -- the team at INSIGHT is in the field at sites around eastern Ontario sampling ticks and small mammals for UPTick, CLYDRN and the Greenbelt Tick Study; looks like it will be a busy summer with high tick numbers!

April 2023 -- Dr. Kulkarni's UPTick project ('Best practices for urban planning in the context of climate change and emerging tick-borne diseases') was awarded funding for three additional years from PHAC's Infectious Diseases and Climate Change Fund.

February 2023 -- check out the new Stories from the Field blog posts by PhD student Claudia Duguay! Claudia describes her recent trips to Tanzania to work with partners to understand risk factors for malaria and schistosomiasis; she also highlights her experience working with fellow PhD student Charles Thickstun doing some community-based mapping using drones!

February 2023 -- Manisha Kulkarni and Roman McKay gave a community talk to the Blackburn Hamlet Community Association to share information on INSIGHT's research on ticks and Lyme disease in Ottawa. 

February 2023 -- INSIGHT alum Aisha Barkhad, who is currently pursuing a PhD in Global Health at McMaster, was recently announced as winner of the 9th Annual CAPPA National Student Paper Competition with her essay on climate change and vector-borne infectious diseases. Congratulations Aisha!

November 2022 -- Katarina Ost and Jay Logan presented on their thesis work at the Canadian Lyme Disease Research Network Annual AGM investigating ways to optimize interventions for Lyme disease in urban and peri-urban settings, and highlighting socio-ecological factors associations with Lyme disease incidence in Ottawa neighbourhoods.

October 2022 -- Check out the video featuring Dr Manisha Kulkarni as a "Change Maker" in Science North's Climate Quest exhibition! Science North aims to inspire 1 million youth (and more!) across Canada to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and help Canada achieve its goal of net-zero emissions by 2050.

October 2022 -- Charles Thickstun won a Young Investigator Award at the American Society for Tropical Medicine & Hygiene annual conference in Seattle for his thesis research presentation on spatial effects of dual-treated LLINs, congratulations Charles!

August-September 2022 -- Claudia Duguay and Charles Thickstun worked alongside partners in Misungwi, Tanzania to map potential mosquito and snail breeding sites using community participation and drone imagery. Thanks to the Global One Health Network and Faculty of Medicine Global Health Program for studentship funding to make this possible.

July 2022 -- Dr. Manisha Kulkarni was awarded a CIHR Planning Grant to address research priorities to assess climate change impacts on malaria and arboviruses in Sub-Saharan Africa, with partners from LSHTM, UK and KCMUCo, Tanzania.

June-August 2022 -- the INSIGHT team is out in the field conducting tick drags for our Greenbelt Tick Project and CLYDRN surveillance. 

March 2022 -- See the new Lancet paper showing exciting results from the PAMVERC malaria vector control trial in Misungwi, Tanzania! New dual insecticidal nets reduce malaria infections in children in areas with malaria transmitted by pyrethroid-resistant vector mosquitoes!

February 2022 --  Claudia Duguay was awarded 2nd place (PhD student category) at SEPH's Annual Research Day for her talk on "Assessing risk factors for malaria and schistosomiasis exposure in Misungwi, Tanzania, an area of co-endemicity", way to go Claudia!

February 2022 -- Dr Kulkarni and Charles Thickstun met with research partners in Mwanza, Tanzania to discuss results of the large-scale bednet trial led by the Pan-African Malaria Vector Research Consortium (PAMVERC)

Jan/Feb 2022 -- Claudia Duguay travelled to Tanzania to conduct her PhD fieldwork with research partners at the National Institute for Medical Research, Mwanza Centre

November 2021 -- New paper by Katarina Ost, Claudia Duguay and Manisha Kulkarni in Globalization & Health charting the impacts of climate change on malaria and dengue and assessing adaptive strategies, check it out!

October 2021 -- PhD candidates Claudia Duguay and Charles Thickstun travelled with Dr Kulkarni to Benin to meet with research partners at the Centre de Recherche Entomologique de Cotonou (CREC) for INSIGHT's project examining the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on malaria prevention and control in rural communities

September 2021 -- Benoit Talbot started a new postdoctoral position in a collaboration between INSIGHT and PHAC as a Health Systems Impact Fellow, funded by CIHR!

September 2021 -- two new papers in Parasites & Vectors just published, which show exciting results from our Zika virus project with partners in Colombia, Ecuador and Argentina; check out the multi-country paper led by Benoit Talbot here!

July 2021 -- our field season is in full swing and the team is busy out collecting ticks and sampling mice at sites in eastern Ontario

May 6, 2021 -- Roman McKay and Dr. Kulkarni presented at our first virtual town hall meeting for the UPTick project, to share preliminary findings with community members and stakeholders from our study neighbourhoods. Check it out here!

July 2020 to June 2021 -- Dr. Kulkarni is on sabbatical, more updates to come soon!

May 25 & 29, 2020 -- The ticks are out and Dr. Kulkarni gave interviews with CBC Ottawa TV and CBC Radio to share details on INSIGHT's research and ways that people can protect themselves from ticks while enjoying the outdoors

April 15, 2020 -- Dr Kulkarni was interviewed on BEaTS Research Radio about INSIGHT's research on vector-borne diseases, and how environmental changes can drive the emergence of new pathogens like SARS-CoV-2. Watch here on YouTube!

April 5, 2020 -- INSIGHT has launched our UPTick project that aims to understand the impacts of urban change on ticks and tick-borne disease transmission, check it out at

Jan 21-24, 2020 -- Dr. Kulkarni participated in the IMCHA Learning Workshop in Kigali, Rwanda to meet with research partners from the Safe Motherhood Project in Jimma, Ethiopia and 18 other IMCHA research teams working on improving maternal and child health in Africa.

Nov 14, 2019 -- Dr. Kulkarni is featured on the popular radio program BBC Health Check talking about climate change and vector-borne diseases (by Sian Griffiths).

Nov 5, 2019 -- Benoit Talbot and Roman McKay gave an invited talk on INSIGHT's tick and Lyme disease research at the National Capital Commission's Urbanism Lab for a meeting with the scientific community involved in research on NCC lands

Nov 4-8, 2019 -- Manisha Kulkarni and Charles Thickstun were in Mwanza, Tanzania for the second annual Pan-African Malaria Vector Research Consortium (PAMVERC) project team meeting.

Oct 20, 2019 -- Listen to the 'Living Planet' radio program that features Dr. Manisha Kulkarni talking about INSIGHT's research on ticks and Lyme disease and the impacts of climate change (by Sian Griffiths). 

Oct 17, 2019 -- Manisha Kulkarni, Jaameeta Kurji and Benoit Talbot presented on their research on access to maternal healthcare services in Ethiopia and Zika virus in Latin America at the Canadian Conference on Global Health in Ottawa. 

Sept 23, 2019 -- Manisha Kulkarni was awarded a research grant from PHAC's Infectious Diseases and Climate Change Fund for the project "Best practices for urban planning in the context of climate change and emerging tick-borne diseases", with partners from uOttawa and University of Montreal. INSIGHT will work closely with Ottawa Public Health and the National Capital Commission on this exciting interdisciplinary research!

Sept 14-20, 2019 -- Manisha Kulkarni and Benoit Talbot travelled to Ecuador and Colombia to meet with partners for the second RADAM-LAC team meeting as part of the project "Assessing Zika virus transmission dynamics and mitigation strategies: a multidisciplinary approach". Dr Kulkarni presented a talk on global emerging arboviruses at the first international symposium on Zika virus at ULEAM in Manta, Ecuador

Sept 13 -- Manisha Kulkarni was selected to receive the 2019 Researcher of the Year Award - Basic Sciences of the Faculty of Medicine Awards of Excellence!

Aug 18-21, 2019 -- Manisha Kulkarni and Andreea Slatculescu presented on INSIGHT's research on vector-borne diseases in two special symposia on disease vectors, held at the Canadian Society for Evolution & Ecology (CSEE) - Entomological Society of Canada (ESC) joint conference in Fredericton, NB

July 10, 2019 -- Manisha Kulkarni was awarded a CIHR grant for INSIGHT's research on "Public Health Risk Assessment Tools for Emerging Vector-borne Diseases"

June 12, 2019 -- Members of the Safe Motherhood Project from uOttawa, Manisha Kulkarni, Nicole Bergen and Ron Labonte, gave an invited presentation at the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) to share results of our project with partners from Jimma University in Ethiopia

May 13-15, 2019 -- Members of the INSIGHT lab, Benoit Talbot, Andreea Slatculescu and Charles Thickstun, presented their research at the Canadian Society for Epidemiology & Biostatistics conference at Carleton University, Ottawa

May 7, 2019 -- Manisha Kulkarni gave an invited presentation at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre on her malaria research in Tanzania, entitled "Insecticide resistance and malaria control: challenges and opportunities"

May 6, 2019 -- Benoit Talbot gave an invited talk at the Queen's Biology Department of Biology on his research on the landscape ecology of blacklegged ticks

April 25, 2019 -- Manisha Kulkarni was awarded an NSERC Discovery Grant for her research on ticks and Lyme disease

April 15, 2019 -- is live in Ontario! The INSIGHT lab joined eTick in 2018 with its expansion to Ontario, and is contributing to this exciting citizen surveillance initiative.

April 3, 2019 -- Manisha Kulkarni, Benoit Talbot and Andreea Slatcuescu attended the first annual AGM for the Canadian Lyme Disease Research Network

April 1, 2019 -- Manisha Kulkarni was awarded a Knowledge Mobilization Excellence Award from uOttawa for her CIHR-funded project on emerging vector-borne diseases. See the video here!

March 16, 2019 -- Jaameeta Kurji and Benoit Talbot travelled to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where Jaameeta presented her research to the National Advisory Committee for our Safe Motherhood trial, and they helped to prepare for endline data collection in Jimma

March 1, 2019 -- INSIGHT members are publishing! See some recent papers in PLoS ONE, Emerging Infectious Diseases, Ecohealth and Vector-borne & Zoonotic Diseases on our publications page


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