Department of Ecology and Evolution and the College
Cara Brook’s research investigates the mechanisms that underpin the spillover of zoonotic viruses, including SARS-CoV-2, from wild bat reservoirs to human hosts. She combines tools from field ecology, molecular immunology, and computational biology to understand past zoonoses and to attempt to predict and prevent others from arising in the future. She maintains a long-term field system exploring these processes in the endemic fruit bats of Madagascar, and works closely with scientists and students at the University of Antananarivo and the Institut Pasteur of Madagascar in all aspects of her research. She has also pioneered the development of in-country, next-generation sequencing technology in Madagascar, which she and colleagues are using for SARS-CoV-2 genomic surveillance.
Her work is funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and her findings have been published in Science, eLife, PLOS Pathogens, Trends in Microbiology, and Epidemics. She holds a Branco Weiss Fellowship, administered through ETH Zürich, and maintains a research affiliation with the Institut Pasteur of Madagascar. In 2020, she was awarded the L’Oréal USA for Women in Science Fellowship.
Brook received her MSc and PhD in ecology and evolutionary biology from Princeton University. Most recently, she was a postdoctoral fellow with the Miller Institute for Basic Research in Science at the University of California, Berkeley.