by Dr. Nita Bharti


The Bharti Lab of Human Infectious Diseases


The Bharti lab
of Human Infectious Diseases

Run by Nita Bharti

based at Penn State University

in the Biology Department and

the Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics (CIDD)


We work on human health and infectious diseases

The Bharti lab conducts research on the interactions between social and biological processes as underlying determinants of human health. In developing world settings, demographics and cultural forces are shifting, perhaps more than the associated biological processes. Successful public health programs must therefore be based on a synthesis of sound biological and anthropological research. Our core research principles are to investigate the interactions between behavior and biology, tease apart their impacts on human health, and apply the results to inform health care and intervention strategies. 

Changes in the characteristics of human settlements can be seen either as determinants of health outcomes or as reactions to disruptive events. In the former scenario, human movement affects the risk of disease exposure, patterns of transmission, and ecosystem disruption as well as access to vaccination and health care services. In the latter scenario, disease outbreaks, natural disasters, or political instability trigger human movement or displacement. Understanding both of these important aspects of human movement can aid in the development and refinement of predictive and reactive tools for public health interventions. 

We synthesize ideas across anthropology, biology, and geography to develop methods for identifying routes of movement and measuring rapid changes in population density. These represent key social and biological determinants of the spread and persistence of infectious diseases that weigh heavily on the efficacy of public health interventions but remain understudied. 

Floating on the Niger River near Niamey

Floating on the Niger River near Niamey