Gideon Wasserberg

Gideon Wasserberg

Associate Professor

(336) 256-0098
235A Eberhart Building


Ecology of Infectious Diseases, Medical Entomology, Community Ecology, Mathematical Modeling of Infectious Diseases.


Ph.D., Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel; MPH, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health


Establishment of an infectious disease in a population requires more than just introduction of a pathogen into the population. It involves a complex interaction between the disease agent, the host, sometimes vector, and their environment. Understanding the ecological processes that determine the distribution, dynamics, severity, and evolution of diseases is the domain of the new science of Ecology of Infectious Diseases.  My research as an Infectious Disease Ecologist focuses on applied and basic science questions using observational, experimental, and modeling studies.

  1. Ecology of zoonotic and vector-borne diseases. I study the role of anthropogenic disturbance in the resurgence of Cutaneous Leishmaniasis in southern Israel. Particularly, I focus on studying the environmental, demographic, and spatial aspects of the system using observational and experimental studies and use simulation models to address potential intervention approaches. I am also using GIS and remote sensing to develop a risk model for that area. I am planning to use a similar approach for the study a range of local diseases such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever, West-Nile virus, la Cross encephalitis, Lyme’s disease and others.
  2. Wildlife diseases. I study the ecology Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in White-Tailed Deer using a simulation model. CWD is an emerging fatal neurodegenerative prion disease belonging to a family of diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSE) and is the only TSE that acts as an infectious disease in free-ranging animals. My model studies the role of transmission mode and demographic contact structure on disease dynamics and their implications for disease control in southern Wisconsin.
  3. Disease Ecology – basic research.  Using a combination of experimental and modeling approaches, I am addressing basic question such as the effect the degree of vector-host coupling on dynamics of vector-borne diseases as well as disease community ecology.

Scientific Publications:

Marayati, B. F., Schal, C., Ponnusamy, L., Apperson, C., Rowland, T., and Wasserberg, G. 2015. Attraction and oviposition preferences of Phlebotomus papatasi (Diptera: Psychodidae), vector of Old-World cutaneous leishmaniasis, to larval rearing media. Parasites & Vectors, 8:663.

Berger, R., Wasserberg, G., Warburg, A., Orshan, L., Kotler, B. 2014. Zoonotic Disease in a peripheral population: Persistence and transmission of Leishmania major in a putative sink-source system in the Negev highlands, Israel. Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases 14(8): 592-600.

Jennelle, C.S., Henaux, V., Wasserberg, G., Thiagarajan, B., Rolley, R.A., Samuel, M.D. 2014. Transmission of Chronic Wasting Disease in Wisconsin White-Tailed Deer: Implications for Disease Spread and Management. PLoS ONE 9(3): e91043. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0091043

Wasserberg, G., Bailes, N., Davis, C., Yeoman, K. 2014. Hump-shaped density-dependent regulation of mosquito oviposition site-selection by conspecific immature stages: theory, field test with Aedes albopictus, and a meta-analysis. PLOS ONE.

Wilson, R., Harrison, R., Riles, M., Wasserberg, G., and Byrd, B.D. 2014. Differential identification of Aedes triseriatus (Say) and Aedes hendersoni Cockerell (Diptera: Culicidae) by a novel duplex PCR assay. Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association. 30(2): xx-xx.

Wasserberg, G., Kirsch, P., Rowton, E. 2014. Orientation of colonized sand flies Phlebotomus papatasi, P. duboscqi, and Lutzomyia longipalpis (Diptera: Psychodidae) to diverse honeys using a 3-chamber in-line olfactometer. Journal of Vector Ecology. 39 (1): 94-102.

Wasserberg, G., White, L., Bullard, A., King, J., & Maxwell, R. 2013. Oviposition Site Selection in Aedes albopictus (Diptera: Culicidae): Are the Effects of Predation Risk and Food Level Independent? J. Med. Entomol. 50(5): 1159-1164.

G. Wasserberg, Poche R., Miller D., Chenault M., Zollner G., and Rowton E.D. 2011. Imidacloprid as a potential agent for systemic Control of Sand Flies (Diptera: Psychodidae). Journal of Vector Ecology 36, 148-156.

G. Wasserberg, E. D. Rowton. 2011. Sub-additive effect of conspecific eggs and frass on oviposition rate of lutzomyia longipalpis and phlebotomus papatasi. Journal of Vector Ecology 36:138-143.

G. Wasserberg., Rolley,R.E., Osnas,E. & Samuel,M.D. 2009. Host Culling as an Adaptive-management Tool for Chronic Wasting Disease in White-Tailed Deer – a Modeling Study. Journal of Applied Ecology, 46, 457–466.

G. Wasserberg, B.P. Kotler, Z., D.W., Morris, Abramsky. 2007. A field-test of the centrifugal community organization model in a community of psammophilic gerbils in the southern coastal plain, Israel. Evolutionary Ecology Research, 9: 299-311.

G. Wasserberg, B.P. Kotler, Z. Abramsky. 2006. The role of site, habitat, competition, and resource dynamics in determining the nightly activity patterns of psammophilic gerbils in a centrifugally organized community. Oikos, 112:573-579.

G. Wasserberg, B.P. Kotler, Z., D.W., Morris, Abramsky. 2006. A Specter of Coexistence:  Is Centrifugal Community Organization Haunted by the Ghost of Competition? Israel Journal of Ecology and Evolution, 52: 123-140.

G. Wasserberg, B.P. Kotler, N. Valdivia, Z. Abramsky 2005. The role of vegetation characteristics and foraging substrate in organizing a centrifugal gerbil community. Journal of Mammalogy, 86, 1009-1014.

B.P. Kotler, C. R. Dickman, G. Wasserberg, and O. Ovadia  2005. The use of time and space by male and female gerbils exploiting a pulsed resource. Oikos, 109,  594-602.

V. Kravchenko, G. Wasserberg, and A. Warburg. 2004. Bionomics of phlebotomine sandflies in the Galilee focus of cutaneous leishmaniasis.  Medical and Veterinary Entomology, 18, 418-428.

G. Wasserberg
, Z. Abramsky, B.P. Kotler, I. Yarom, A.Warburg. 2003. Anthropogenic disturbance enhance occurrence of cutaneous leishmaniasis in Israel deserts: patterns and mechanisms. Ecological applications 13: 868 – 881.

G. Wasserberg, I. Yarom, A. Warburg. 2003. Seasonal abundance patterns of Phlebotomus papatasi (Diptera: Psychodidae) in two climatically distinct foci of cutaneous leishmaniasis in Israeli deserts. Medical and Veterinary Entomology 17: 452-456.

G. Wasserberg, Z Abramsky, G Anders, M El Fari, G Schoenian, L Schnur, B P Kotler, I Kabalo and A Warburg. 2002. The ecology of cutaneous leishmaniasis in Nizzana, Israel: infection patterns in the reservoir host and epidemiological implications. The International Journal for Parasitology. 32: 133-143.

Professional literature:

R. Smith, G. Wasserberg, R. Gurtler, C. King, U. Kitron. 2005. Modeling Disease  Ecology with Mathematics. Workshop Manual. University of Buenos Aires.


Principles of Ecology (BIO 301)