Lexi will determine the overall prevalence of zoonotic helminths in the Jawadhu Hills in Tamil Nadu, India, an isolated tribal, area in Southern India. Prevalence will be assessed in human, stray and domestic animal fecal samples as well as environmental samples. Lexi will also assess potential risk factors for transmission of zoonotic helminths, with a particular focus on the role that different types of domestic animals and different husbandry tasks may have. Other risk factors that will be measured in humans will be age, gender, and water, sanitation, and hygiene practices. Environmental samples will be examined and compared with prevalence and household risk factors. Using a risk factor questionnaire, Lexi will also determine the distribution of risk factors for exposure to zoonotic helminths by age and gender.
Lexi is a graduate student at the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences studying Clinical and Translational Science. She expects to complete her studies in May 2022. Before coming to Tufts, Lexi earner her B.S. in Biology from Birmingham-Southern College, her DVM from NC State, and an MPH in Global Health from the Harvard Chan School of Public Health. Lexi also worked for one year as a post doc at Duke University on active surveillance for potential zoonotic influenza. During vet school she worked with Turtle Rescue Team, a wildlife rehab clinic. She also spent some time working at a public health school in Malaysia.
Current Studies and Future Goals
When asked what she found most meaningful about her field of study, Lexi responded with the following: "I am interested in One Health and zoonotic diseases because much of the existing work in these fields have been siloed into human or animal, and the environment has been excluded completely. However, by working across disciplines, there is an opportunity to be able to examine not just the transmission of these diseases but also cultural and location-specific factors that affect their transmission. My ultimate goal is to use this information to inform prevention programs".
When asked what interested her in becoming a TIE Fellow, Lexi responded with the following: "I applied to Tufts for my PhD because of the opportunity for interdisciplinary work. As I mentioned above, much of the work on zoonotic helminths is siloed into veterinary or human medical fields and the environmental piece is often overlooked. Prevention requires a greater understanding of the factors involved in transmission, and this can be done best when multiple disciplines are involved and TIE also supports this mission".
Lexi plans to pursue a career in One Health research once she finishes her studies at Tufts.
When not doing school work, Lexi can be found baking, reading, hiking, and making jam and apple butter. When she has time, Lexi enjoys camping with friends and family. She also hopes to visit every National Park in the United States.