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Emily Flies

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E Flies

Emily Flies

Postdoctoral Fellow

Room 343, Life Science, Sandy Bay Campus

Biography

Emily’s undergraduate (Bachelor of Arts) degree was in anthropology and psychology from the University of Buffalo, USA. She then spent a few years teaching outdoor education and travelling. During this time, her physical anthropology interest in primates intersected with her passion for ecology and health. She conducted an independent study investigating the impact of environmental disruption on the faecal parasite loads in monkeys in Costa Rica. That experience ignited her passion for research and she returned to school to conduct her master’s degree at Michigan State University, USA. She investigated whether certain bird species could become infected with a tick-borne bacterium (Anaplasma phagocytophilum), whether they could pass on that infection and how the infection impacted their health.

During her master’s degree, she became more interested in the connections between human, animal and environmental health (One Health). In her PhD research, at the University of South Australia, she developed a novel mosquito-borne virus surveillance technique that used recycled milk cartons, pantyhose and nucleic acid-preserving paper coated in honey to identify infectious mosquitoes. She used her virus-detecting traps, combined with laboratory work and spatial analyses to determine the ecological factors influencing transmission of Ross River virus in South Australia.

In her current postdoctoral research work, Emily is exploring how anthropogenic (human-driven) changes to the environment are impacting human health. She is focusing on health of people in urban environments and how urbanisation and urbanicity (city living) impact the health of urban residents.

Emily is also passionate about improving public understanding of and engagement with science through better science communication. During her PhD, she co-founded Science in the Pub Adelaide (SciPubAdelaide.org.au) and, since moving to Hobart in 2015, Science in the Pub Tasmania (SciPubTas.org.au). These two ongoing organizations hold monthly meetings that bring a panel of 3 engaging, knowledgeable scientists into a pub to explain, and discuss a scientific topic with each other and the attendees. These events average 100 attendees each month! Emily and her partner Andy have acquired grants and sponsorship to provide free hot nibbles for the audience and free drinks for the panel at each event. Emily also organises other science engagement events and was named the STEM Communicator of the Year for Tasmania in 2017.

Career summary

Qualifications

Degree

Thesis title

University

Country

Date of award

PhD

Ecology and Epidemiology of Ross River virus in South Australia

 

University of South Australia

 

Australia

 

2016

MS

Anaplasma phagocytophilum infection in two species of passerine bird: an assessment of reservoir competence and disease

 

Michigan State University

 

USA

 

2011

BA

Psychology and Anthropology

 

University at Buffalo

 

USA

 

2006

Teaching

Teaching expertise

Emily has teaching experience in Comparative primate Anatomy (University of Buffalo), Fundamentals of Fisheries and Wildlife (Michigan State University; MSU), Field Techniques of Fisheries and Wildlife (MSU), Applications for Biological Science (MSU), Human Physiology (University of South Australia; UniSA) and Invertebrate Biology (UniSA). Her current role at UTas is research-focused and does not contain a teaching component. Nonetheless, she satisfies her desire to educate through her Science in the Pub events and community engagement activities.

View more on Dr Emily Flies in WARP

Research Themes

Emily’s research is aligned with three of the University's research themes: Better Health; Environment, Resources and Sustainability; Creativity, Culture and Society. Her current research aims are to identify how urbanization and city living (“urbanicity”) are affecting the health of city residents and what can be done to improve urban health. She is applying spatial, hierarchical, and predictive models to environmental and health data in order to answer these questions. The outcomes of Emily’s research can be applied to improve the health and resiliency of local and global urban communities. Emily also works more broadly in the realm of Planetary Health/One Health to understand how human, animal and environmental health are connected and how anthropogenic (human-driven) changes to the environment impact that dynamic. Her ultimate goal is to illuminate the forces shaping human health to provide a foundation for evidence-based health policy.

Fields of Research

  • Ecology (060299)
  • Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety (111705)
  • Conservation and Biodiversity (050202)
  • Microbial Ecology (060504)
  • Infectious Diseases (110309)
  • Ecological Impacts of Climate Change (050101)
  • Global Change Biology (069902)
  • Natural Resource Management (050209)
  • Decision Support and Group Support Systems (080605)
  • Community Ecology (060202)
  • Cellular Immunology (110704)
  • Immunology (110799)
  • Urban and Regional Planning (120599)
  • Epidemiology (111706)
  • Health Promotion (111712)
  • Land Use and Environmental Planning (120504)
  • Environmental Management (050205)

Research Objectives

  • Environmental Health (920405)
  • Zoonoses (920120)
  • Infectious Diseases (920109)
  • Immune System and Allergy (920108)
  • Urban and Industrial Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity (960812)
  • Information and Communication Services (899999)
  • Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Farmland, Arable Cropland and Permanent Cropland Environments (960504)
  • Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) (920499)
  • Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity of environments (960899)
  • Air Quality (960199)
  • Health Status (e.g. Indicators of Well-Being) (920408)
  • Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences (970106)
  • Urban and Industrial Air Quality (960106)
  • Urban and Industrial Land Management (960911)

Publications

Total publications

19

Journal Article

(14 outputs)
YearCitationAltmetrics
2019Flies EJ, Mavoa S, Zosky GR, Mantzioris E, Williams C, et al., 'Urban-associated diseases: candidate diseases, environmental risk factors, and a path forward', Environment International pp. 1-47. ISSN 0160-4120 (In Press) [Refereed Article]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Zosky GR; Eri R; Brook BW; Buettel JC

2019Lai H, Flies EJ, Weinstein P, Woodward A, 'The impact of green space and biodiversity on health: synthesis and systematic review', Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 17, (7) pp. 383-390. ISSN 1540-9295 (2019) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1002/fee.2077 [eCite] [Details]

Tweet

2018Buettel JC, Brook BW, Cole A, Dickey J, Flies EJ, 'Astro-ecology? Shifting the interdisciplinary collaboration paradigm', Ecology and Evolution, 8, (19) pp. 9586-9589. ISSN 2045-7758 (2018) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1002/ece3.4455 [eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Buettel JC; Brook BW; Cole A; Dickey J

Tweet

2018Flies EJ, Brook BW, Blomqvist L, Buettel JC, 'Forecasting future global food demand: A systematic review and meta-analysis of model complexity', Environment International, 120 pp. 93-103. ISSN 0160-4120 (2018) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1016/j.envint.2018.07.019 [eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Brook BW; Buettel JC

Tweet

2018Flies EJ, Lau CL, Carver S, Weinstein P, 'Another emerging mosquito-borne disease? Endemic Ross River Virus transmission in the absence of marsupial reservoirs', Bioscience, 68, (4) pp. 288-293. ISSN 0006-3568 (2018) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1093/biosci/biy011 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 3Web of Science - 3

Co-authors: Carver S

Tweet

2018Flies EJ, Skelly C, Lovell R, Breed MF, Phillips D, et al., 'Cities, biodiversity and health: we need healthy urban microbiome initiatives', Cities & Health ISSN 2374-8834 (2018) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1080/23748834.2018.1546641 [eCite] [Details]

Tweet

2017Flies EJ, Skelly C, Negi SS, Parbhakaran P, Liu Q, et al., 'Biodiverse green space: a prescription for global urban health', Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 15, (9) pp. 510-516. ISSN 1540-9295 (2017) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1002/fee.1630 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 10

Tweet

2017Flies EJ, Weinstein P, Anderson SJ, Koolhof I, Foufopoulos J, et al., 'Ross River virus and the necessity of multi-scale, eco-epidemiological analyses', The Journal of Infectious Disease, 217, (5) pp. 807-815. ISSN 0022-1899 (2017) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1093/infdis/jix615 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 2Web of Science - 2

Co-authors: Koolhof I

Tweet

2016Flies AS, Mansfield LS, Flies EJ, Grant CK, Holekamp KE, 'Socioecological predictors of immune defences in wild spotted hyenas', Functional Ecology, 30, (9) pp. 1549-1557. ISSN 0269-8463 (2016) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1111/1365-2435.12638 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 13Web of Science - 12

Co-authors: Flies AS

Tweet

2016Flies EJ, Flies AS, Fricker SR, Weinstein P, Williams CR, 'Regional Comparison of Mosquito Bloodmeals in South Australia: Implications for Ross River Virus Ecology', Journal of Medical Entomology, 53, (4) pp. 902-910. ISSN 0022-2585 (2016) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1093/jme/tjw035 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 7Web of Science - 8

Co-authors: Flies AS

Tweet

2016Flies EJ, Williams CR, Weinstein P, Anderson SJ, 'Improving public health intervention for mosquito-borne disease: the value of geovisualization using source of infection and LandScan data', Epidemiology and Infection, 144, (14) pp. 3108-3119. ISSN 0950-2688 (2016) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1017/S0950268816001357 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Web of Science - 2

Tweet

2015Flies EJ, Toi C, Weinstein P, Doggett SL, Williams CR, 'Converting mosquito surveillance to arbovirus surveillance with honey-baited nucleic acid preservation cards', Vector Borne and Zoonotic Diseases, 15, (7) pp. 397-403. ISSN 1530-3667 (2015) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1089/vbz.2014.1759 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 18Web of Science - 21

Tweet

2014Johnston E, Weinstein P, Slaney D, Johnson E, Fricker S, et al., 'Mosquito communities with trap height and urban-rural gradient in Adelaide, South Australia: implications for disease vector surveillance', Journal of Vector Ecology, 39, (1) pp. 48-55. ISSN 1081-1710 (2014) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1111/j.1948-7134.2014.12069.x [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 10Web of Science - 11

Tweet

2013Johnston E, Tsao JI, Munoz JD, Owen J, 'Anaplasma phagocytophilum infection in American robins and gray catbirds: an assessment of reservoir competence and disease in captive wildlife', Journal of Medical Entomology, 50, (1) Article 10.1603/ME12141. ISSN 0022-2585 (2013) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1603/ME12141 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 6Web of Science - 6

Tweet

Review

(1 outputs)
YearCitationAltmetrics
2018Flies EJ, 'Review of 'Impacts of Climate Change on Allergens and Allergic Diseases. Editor PJ Beggs. Cambridge University Press. ISBN: 978-1-107-04893-5. 2016'', Quarterly Review of Biology, 93, (2) pp. 131-131. ISSN 0033-5770 (2018) [Review Single Work]

[eCite] [Details]

Thesis

(1 outputs)
YearCitationAltmetrics
2016Flies EJ, 'Ecology and epidemiology of Ross River virus in South Australia' (2016) [PhD]

[eCite] [Details]

Other Public Output

(3 outputs)
YearCitationAltmetrics
2019Stephenson E, Webb C, Flies EJ, 'How Australian wildlife spread and suppress Ross River virus', The Conversation, The Conversation Media Group Ltd, Australia, 15 January 2019 (2019) [Newspaper Article]

[eCite] [Details]

Tweet

2016Flies EJ, Webb C, 'Explainer: what are antibodies and why are viruses like dengue worse the second time?', The Conversation, The Conversation Media Group, Parkville, Victoria, Australia (2016) [Magazine Article]

[eCite] [Details]

Tweet

2015Williams C, Flies EJ, 'How a new test is revolutionising what we know about viruses in our midst', The Conversation, The Conversation Media Group, Parkville, VIC 3010, Australia (2015) [Magazine Article]

[eCite] [Details]

Tweet

Grants & Funding

Funding Summary

Number of grants

5

Total funding

$320,645

Projects

Healthy Future Environments and People (2019 - 2022)$233,172
Description
This grant will allow myself and colleagues to 1) form the Healthy Future Environments and People consortium as a new strategic area of research strength for the University and 2) conduct some original research to formalise and strengthen this collaboration. This diverse group includes ecological and health researchers (across career stages), students, government officials, and social scientists who want to understand and develop environmental solutions for health problems.
Funding
University of Tasmania ($233,172)
Scheme
Grant- Research Enhancement Program
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Flies E; Kendal DJ; Marsh P; Jones PJ; Clarke L; Ondei S
Period
2019 - 2022
Human health and the aerial microbiome: uncovering interactions across Australia (2019)$19,989
Description
This is a pilot project for a Category 1 funding application in 2020. It includes two core activities: (1) Holding a workshop to develop collaborations and methodologies; and (2) A pilot personal monitoring study collecting paired aerial microbiome and health symptom data from volunteers.
Funding
University of Tasmania ($19,989)
Scheme
Grant-Research Enhancement Program
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Jones PJ; Johnston F; Dickinson JL; Flies E
Year
2019
Understanding the effects of an inner-city student accommodation community garden project in Hobart: Melville St Community Garden Project @ the Hobart City Apartments (2019)$50,000
Description
The University of Tasmania is beginning a journey to shift the focus of the Hobart campuses from Sandy Bay into the Hobart CBD. One of the first steps on this journey is to improve the public landscape and integration of the Melville Street student accommodation through a community garden.
Funding
University of Tasmania ($50,000)
Scheme
null
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Marsh P; Kendal DJ; Flies E; Jones PJ; Owen CM; Byrne JA
Year
2019
Microbiomes in Tasmania: questions, collaboration and connection with industry (2018)$7,500
Description
Microbial communities are central to human health and ecosystem functioning and thus are of critical importance for us to understand. Microbiomes are being examined in different disciplines across the University (as they pertain to marine environments, forests, agriculture, human health and food safety) and at various government and private industries. However, there is very little cross-talk amongst research groups. This rapidly emerging field is ripe for exploration in Tasmania if skills can be transferred and institutional siloing can be overcome so researchers in different institutions (e.g. School of Natural Sciences, Menzies, College of Health and Medicine, CSIRO) can become aware of each others work. Fostering this collaboration could lead to more rapid advances and efficient research. With this grant, we will host a workshop with two days of presentations on health (day 1) and ecology (day 2) microbiome research, with a third day to discuss applications, industry interest, collaborations, and outline a working paper for publication.
Funding
University of Tasmania ($7,500)
Scheme
Grant- Research Enhancement Program
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Flies E; Clarke L; Kendal DJ
Year
2018
Anthropogenic impacts on environmental microbiomes (2018)$9,984
Description
The human microbiomes is central to our health and is influenced by the microbial communities in the surrounding environment. But we know little about how human actions shape environmental microbiomes. The aims of this project are to: 1.Characterise the microbial community across urban land use types2.Compare soil microbial community and chemical composition in paired urban and rural habitatsa.Determine the influence of human activities on soil chemistry and microbiomeb.Infer impacts on human health3.Conduct a proof-of-concept test on AirRater filter samples to determine if they can be used to sample aerosolised microbial communities a.Compare aerial microbial community composition changes over time
Funding
University of Tasmania ($9,984)
Scheme
Grant- Research Enhancement Program
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Flies E; Clarke L; Ondei S; Jones PJ
Year
2018

Research Supervision

Current

1

Current

DegreeTitleCommenced
PhDLandscape and Global-Scale Impacts of Agricultural Systems on Biological Diversity2017