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Lena C. Patiño

Wildlife Ecologist/Veterinarian Researcher

Lena C. Patiño W. joined Dr. Alexander's lab in March 2017 as a wildlife ecologist/veterinarian researcher. She earned her DVM from Universidad Autónoma Gabriel René Moreno (Santa Cruz, Bolivia) in 2006 and received a Master's in Conservation Medicine with an emphasis in ecosystemic health from the Universidad Nacional (Heredia, Costa Rica) in 2016. Her Master's researched focused on detection of avian tuberculosis and psittacid herpesvirus in endangered free-living scarlet macaws (Ara macao) in Costa Rica. She worked in small animal and no conventional pet praxis and supported different wildlife projects, referring conflict in the human-wildlife interface, training of indigenous communities for wildlife research and wildlife health in Bolivia.


Lena's primary role with Dr. Alexander's lab is coordinating the banded mongoose project, which is aimed at understanding how various environmental, social, and behavioral factors may influence infectious disease transmission pathways and infection probabilities in social carnivores, using banded mongoose and Mycobacterium mungi as a model study system. Lena will also collaborate with the data collection on the Chobe River water quality research project and participate in a number of other wildlife projects for CARACAL.

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Madalyn Fox

Master's Student, Public Health

Madalyn joined Dr. Alexander’s lab as an undergraduate in the spring of 2016. Following that semester, she received the opportunity to travel to the Chobe Research Institute. She worked closely with the after school environmental education club students. She also immersed herself in community wellness work by attending kgotlas (town meetings), science in society series, and working on diarrheal disease research within the poorer communities of Kasane. It was this community work that really sparked her interest in public health.

Her research interest is focused on understanding how  varying severities of a particular disease can effect the communities of the infected individuals. Continuing with our staple research subject, Madalyn is working with the virulence of E.coli found in the feces of banded mongoose as well as comparing the antibiotic resistance across variables. Her research will help us to understand how this disease is moving and maturing.

Nick Sybertz

Master's Student, Wildlife Conservation

Nick joined Dr. Alexander’s lab in the fall of 2017 as a volunteer and will continue in the fall of 2018 to pursue a master’s degree in fish and wildlife conservation at Virginia Tech. He was also an undergraduate at Virginia Tech, earning two B.S. degrees in wildlife conservation and biological sciences in the spring of 2018. 


Nick is interested in wildlife disease ecology and comparative transcriptomics. For his master’s project, Nick will develop genetic and protein-based biomarkers in banded mongooses (Mungos mungo) to detect early infection of Mycobacterium mungi, a novel strain of tuberculosis known only to infect the banded mongoose.


Not Pictured: Jack Leitch (PhD Student, Wildlife Conservation), Gabrielle Smith (PhD Student, Wildlife Conservation), and Riham Abu-Saymeh (PhD Student, Wildlife Conservation)



Rasha Aridi

Wildlife Conservation and 

Multimedia Journalism

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Sam Flett

Wildlife Conservation

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Emma Fralin


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