April Frake

  • Ph.D.

  • Email: frakeapr@msu.edu
  • Geography Building
    673 Auditorium Rd., Room 116
    East Lansing, MI 48824
  • Areas of interest: Medical Geography, Infectious Disease Transmission, Africa

Research Synopsis:

My research focus is ever evolving on topics related to infectious disease transmission within Africa, particularly for those diseases vectored by mosquitoes. At present, I am investigating the unintended consequences of agricultural intensification within Malawi; namely, those related to malaria transmission.  A significant body of literature has emerged highlighting the increasing risks of infectious disease to climate change. While data strongly demonstrates the benefits of intensification in alleviating food insecurity, landscape modification is known to directly alter naturally occurring biotic interactions. To establish a generalizable research agenda, we are first exploring to what extent are land use modifications directly linked to agricultural intensification, impacting the primary malarial vector’s (Anopheles mosquito) habitat. Understanding that landscape associations exist due to the poikilothermic nature of the mosquito larvae, we are questioning whether broad-scale alteration of Malawi’s physical landscapes and watersheds are inadvertently promoting larval habitats and thereby increasing malaria infection rates. Moreover, are present efforts to alleviate food insecurity inadvertently increasing malaria vulnerability and under what agricultural innovation solutions are these risks compounded? The overarching objective of this research is to investigate the plausibility for long-term malarial impacts of those decisions directly related to both intensification and extensification within Malawi and Feed the Future countries.