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Our Team

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Our lab works in 4 main areas:

  • Avian Influenza surveillance using remote sensing of waterfowl and advanced molecular methods disease modeling
  • Network analysis, social media analysis, and computational social science related to virulent Newcastle Disease
  • Food safety data analytics including supervised machine learning based methods
  • Optimization of alternative commercial poultry production including free-range, pastured poultry (domestic and international)

To find more details about our lab's interests, explore our Research page or our social media.


Meet the people responsible for innovations in the Pitesky Lab!

 

Faculty

Maurice Pitesky, D.V.M., MPVM, Dipl., ACVPM

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Maurice Pitesky is a faculty member at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine-Cooperative Extension (UCCE) with an appointment in poultry health and food safety epidemiology. Pitesky’s research interests are focused in three major areas: 1) GIS based mapping/modeling to understand how avian diseases move in time and space.  2) novel data analysis and visualization tools to gain insights into poultry production and food safety and 3)  gaining a better understanding of non-conventional commercial poultry production.
International areas of interest: SE Asia, East Africa 

 

Todd Kelman, DVM, MPVM
Todd Kelman is currently an Associate Specialist in the Maurice Pitesky lab within the School of Veterinary Medicine at UC Davis.  He initially graduated with a degree in electrical and computer engineering from the University of Texas, Austin and spent several years developing biomedical devices.  He then obtained his DVM from UC Davis in 2008 and an MPVM the following year, with a specific interest in infectious disease epidemiology, especially for underserved populations.  He works on numerous projects in the Pitesky lab, including mapping of Avian Influenza transmission risk through remote sensing, analysis and modeling of toxins within eggs of backyard poultry, and a USDA supported program to teach husbandry, housing, and biosecurity to beginning poultry farmers.

Staff

Joseph Gendreau

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Joseph is a Research Data Analyst in the Pitesky Lab. He graduated from UC Davis in 2019 with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering with an emphasis in digital and embedded systems. He subsequently worked in consulting engineering where he designed electrical systems for large scale transportation and industrial projects in the Pacific Northwest. As a side project turned career, Joseph has been developing software and novel analysis methods for commercial agriculture and agricultural research since 2018. He is currently working on several projects including the Backyard Poultry Central app, social media analysis following the 2018-2020 virulent Newcastle Disease outbreak, and the establishment of a NGO lead integrated poultry production facility in central Uganda. Joseph's research interest include using natural language processing for disease detection and response, digital extension methods for backyard and small-scale poultry owners, geospatial mapping and modeling of epizootics, and novel sensor and lighting technology in agriculture.

Languages: English, French, Basic Spanish

 

Theresa Valdez

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Theresa Valdez is an environmental scientist and documentary filmmaker in the lab who has grown up with chickens all their life. She received a B.S. in Environmental Science with a minor in Biology at the University of Portland, Oregon in 2019. She has also attended the California Summer School of the Arts where she received training in various visual arts storytelling. She is currently directing a documentary about the story of the virulent Newcastle Disease outbreaks in the poultry industry that took place where she grew up in Southern California. She also works on several lab extension projects such as editing the quarterly “Poultry Ponderings” newsletters, “The Sitch” YouTube video series, and establishing a poultry facility in central Africa with a partner NGO. She is passionate about creating interdisciplinary spaces, becoming an advocate for under-served groups and hopes to pursue higher education. 

 

Students

Grant Koziol

My name is Grant Koziol and I work on the Software team for the Pitesky Lab! I am originally from the Bay Area and come from a large family, I have 2 older brothers and 2 older sisters making a family of 7. I am currently in my 3rd year studying Computer Science and Engineering at UC Davis and I am also minoring in History. I plan to continue working in software after graduation and will probably aim to work as a Software Engineer. I’d say that the people around me in life whether that be in family, school, and work inspire me.

 

B. Zachary Tobar

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Zachary is a MS student in the Graduate Group in Epidemiology at UC Davis, currently focusing on the application of bioinformatic methods in infectious disease epidemiology and microbial ecology of Salmonella. He received his BS in Global Disease Biology at UC Davis in 2019 where he assisted in research on molecular detection of zoonotic Bartonella bacteria in companion animals and their ectoparasites. He plans to ultimately pursue a PhD in epidemiology or bioinformatics. He hopes to be able to ultimately utilize bioinformatic techniques to study emerging public health threats and provide evidence based recommendations for their control.

 

Cheng-Hong (Philip) CHI, DVM

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Cheng-Hong is an MPVM student at UC Davis, currently focusing on exploring vaccine hesitancy in both human and animal vaccines through social network analysis. He received his DVM degree back in Taiwan, where he found his interest in poultry medicine during clinical placements. He plans to pursue a Ph.D. in epidemiology in the future. Cheng-Hong hopes to combine his interest in poultry medicine and social network analysis skills and contribute to tackling vaccine hesitancy from a One Health perspective. In his free time, he follows the quote from Jonathan Larson “Forget Regret, or life is yours to miss” and indulges in the world of musicals. 

 

Alec Michael
Alec is a PhD student in the Graduate Group in Epidemiology at UC Davis, currently focusing on mathematical modeling of virulent Newcastle Disease and antimicrobial resistance. He obtained a B.S. in Microbiology from UC Davis, where he studied mechanisms of debris clearing from the developing murine optic nerve. He hopes to combine his interests in public health and data science to improve outbreak preparedness and develop models of infectious disease.

 

Myrna Cadena

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Myrna is a PhD student in the Animal Biology Graduate Group at UC Davis, where she earned her BS in Animal Science and MS in Avian Sciences. Currently she is using computational social science tools such as network analysis for network-smart outreach and eventually disease modeling. Her goal is to combine her interests in animal health, epidemiology and social science in preparation for a career in applied agricultural sciences focused on research and outreach to underserved communities. Specifically, Myrna hopes to serve and be an advocate for conventional poultry producers and two underserved groups – backyard and small-scale commercial poultry owners, especially those who are Spanish-speaking – as a poultry farm advisor and food safety epidemiologist.


Our Current Interns:

Under construction

Where are they now: 

Under construction