Kelih Henyo ’26
Health and Conservation at the Human-Domestic Animal-Wildlife Interface in Madagascar
I studied the interplay of environmental, wildlife and domestic animal health on the health of people in Madagascar under the “One Health” framework. Our team tested for pathogens including Bartonella, Babesia and Leptospira, and I specifically focused on Toxoplasma gondii, a foodborne and zoonotic parasite that infects roughly one in every three people globally. I aimed to map out the disease ecology of this parasite. To do this, I used sentinel rats and chickens to ascertain its prevalence in the environment at the Betampona Natural Reserve and its surrounding communities, investigated its prevalence amongst Madagascar’s native wildlife species including lemurs and carnivores and explored possible connections and eradication strategies amongst the wildlife in Madagascar. Combining ecological fieldwork and molecular biology lab work in DNA extractions and polymerase chain reaction, I sought to understand the whole organism niche level of this parasite by profiling its presence in tissue samples collected from both lemurs and carnivores. From this research experience, I’ve gained a deeper appreciation for how all of life is intertwined in one collective fate and the many different angles scientific inquiry can take. I’m keen to continue studying toxoplasmosis and other diseases in the future.
* This internship is connected to the HMEI Biodiversity Grand Challenges project, “Biodiversity Conservation and Health at the Human-Domestic Animal-Wildlife Interface in Madagascar.”
Food Systems and Health
Metcalf Lab, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Princeton University - Antananarivo, Madagascar; Betampona Natural Reserve, Madagascar
C. Jessica E. Metcalf, Associate Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Public Affairs, Princeton University; Fidisoa Rasambainarivo, Postdoctoral Research Associate, High Meadows Environmental Institute, Princeton University