Principal Investigator

Joe Mihaljevic, PhD

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Contact Info:

School of Informatics, Computing, and Cyber Systems
1295 S. Knoles Drive
PO Box 5693
Flagstaff, AZ 86011

Office: SICCS 213
Phone: (928) 523-5125

Postdoctoral Researchers

Molly Bechtel, PhD

Molly graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) with a B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Animal Science. At UNR Molly published work on parasite abundance and diversity in woodrats which further piqued her interest in disease ecology and how it applies to wildlife ecology. For her PhD at Northern Arizona University, she studied tick-borne disease in desert tortoises and how ticks and disease interact with the Mojave desert tortoise. Currently, she is interested in answering complex questions about disease ecology, climate change and host phenology through lab experiments, field biology and modeling techniques. Want to learn more? Visit my website.

Kayode Oshinubi, PhD

Kayode obtained a PhD in infectious disease modeling using statistical and mathematical approaches from Université Grenoble Alpes in France in 2022, and he graduated with distinction from his master’s degree in applied mathematics. His research interests include biostatistics, infectious disease modeling, data modeling, mathematical modeling, epidemiological modeling, and disease ecology. Kayode is supporting the NIH-funded EpiMoRPH project in the Mihaljevic lab.

Graduate Students

Kelsey Banister, MS (PhD student & Research Assistant)

Kelsey is a Research Technician and graduated with their MS in Informatics in December 2021. Kelsey also has a Bachelors of Science in Microbiology from Northern Arizona University. Excited by complex pathogen systems and emerging diseases, Kelsey’s current research interests are focused on Ranavirus genetics and genomics, pathogen detection across Arizona, disease modeling, and genetic epidemiology. Their previous laboratory experiences have involved studying mating systems and population genetics of various invertebrate species.


Tanner Porter, MS (PhD Student)

Tanner is an PhD student in Informatics and Research Associate at TGen’s Pathogen & Microbiome Division. He has a Bachelors of Science in Microbiology and a Masters degree in Biology from Northern Arizona University. His previous research has focused on utilizing citizen science to characterize tick-borne diseases across the US. Tanner’s interests are in understanding temporal and spatial drivers of emerging pathogens through the use of molecular and disease modeling techniques.



Zane Ondovcik

Zane is an undergraduate student pursuing a Bachelors of Science in Chemistry and Environmental Science. Zane is passionate about complex relationships within the natural world. In particular, he is interested in studying the effects of disease and pollution in conjunction with preserving natural systems. Zane’s Hooper Undergraduate Research Award project involves comparing methods to detect ranaviruses in natural waterbodies using eDNA.


Saikanth Ratnavale, PhD

Saikanth has moved for another postdoc position at University of Notre Dame.


Kathryn Cooney

Kathryn graduated with an MS in Biology in December 2021. Congrats, Kathryn! Kathryn is currently working for the USGS in Flagstaff, AZ.


Diego Olivo

Diego received his Bachelors of Science in Chemistry and Biology in May 2020. In 2019, Diego (along with Braden) earned the prestigious Urdea Collaborative Research Award to study the effects of temperature on viral shedding rates in the Ranavirus system. Diego is now a PhD student at Arizona State University, studying virology.

Monica Long

Monica received a Bachelors of Science in Biology with minors in Chemistry and Disability Studies in May 2020. Monica is now pursuing a Masters in Bioinformatics and Genomics at the University of Oregon!

Nicole Crews

Nicole received a Bachelors of Science in Microbiology with a minor in Chemistry. Nicole is interested in pathogen genomics and disease transmission, and is currently working as a laboratory technician in a hospital in Arizona.

Braden Spencer

Braden is pursuing a Bachelors of Science in Civil-Environmental Engineering and is currently studying abroad in Chile! Braden is interested in modeling disease within amphibian populations, and how we can use these models, mathematics, and statistics to better understand disease spread through various species and climates. In 2019, Braden (along with Diego) received the prestigious Urdea Collaborative Research Award to study the effects of temperature on viral shedding rates in the Ranavirus system.