Dr. James Hassell’s research combines ecology and epidemiology to study the connections between environmental change, wildlife and human health. As Skorton Scholar to the Global Health Program, he leads and advances the program's work in Kenya, which looks to combine capacity building with cutting-edge research to mitigate risk at the interface between wildlife, livestock and human health. Through his work with GHP, Dr. Hassell aims to promote the conservation of species and their ecosystems, while protecting human and wildlife health.

Topics he is currently working on include:

Disease ecology

  • Emerging infectious disease risks posed by bushmeat in Kenya and Nigeria
  • The impacts of environmental and demographic changes on emerging vector-borne diseases in Northern Kenya
  • The role of wildlife in the emergence of pathogens and antimicrobial resistance in urban settings
Conservation medicine
  • Population heath and diseases of eastern black rhinoceros
  • Toxicology training to mitigate poisoning of African carnivores and vultures
  • Building surveillance platforms for wildlife disease in East Africa
  • Wildlife health training programs in East Africa

Dr. Hassell received his Bachelor of Veterinary Science and Medicine from the Royal Veterinary College, before pursuing a master's degree in wild animal health. He completed his doctorate in epidemiology with the University of Liverpool and International Livestock Research Institute, investigating the role of urbanization on the ecology and epidemiology of disease transmission between wildlife, livestock and humans in Nairobi.

Dr. Hassell is an appointed assistant professor adjunct of epidemiology at Yale School of Public Health, visiting scientist at the International Livestock Research Institute, and has completed a zoological medicine residency with a focus on wildlife population health through the University of Liverpool School of Veterinary Science.


Anthrax Epidemiology and Vultures

Smithsonian scientists and partners are investigating the epidemiology of anthrax in free-ranging vultures across Kenya.

Emerging Infectious Disease Research

Global Health Program researchers study areas where humans and animals interact to help detect and prevent the spread of zoonotic pathogens, which cause about 75 percent of infectious diseases that affect humans.

Lion and Cheetah Genetic Health in Kenya

Scientists are investigating carnivore genetics, population health and conservation management in Kenya's Maasai Mara region.

Rhino Conservation and Medicine

Smithsonian scientists are conducting a rhinoceros medicine workshop in Kenya and investigating a skin infection plaguing the endangered black rhinoceros.

Wildlife Health

The Global Health Program identifies and addresses health concerns in threatened wildlife populations in East Africa and Southeast Asia.