Dorothy Tovar is a Ph.D. candidate in the department of Microbiology and Immunology, co-advised in the Ecology and Evolution program at Stanford. She is interested in environmental factors that drive the spread of deadly viral diseases from bats into humans and livestock. Her research investigates how changes in the environment, affect processes important for the control and clearance of viral infections in bats. By utilizing cells harvested from bats and cultivated in lab as a novel, non-invasive technique to investigate the impacts of environmental stressors, she plans to increase awareness of environmental drivers of bat-borne disease spread into people.
Born and raised in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Dorothy also spent some of her childhood in Haiti, sparking her interest in infectious disease research. This interest led her to earn a BS degree in microbiology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where she worked on projects developing vaccines and treatments for Trachoma, a bacterial infection responsible for 1.9 million cases of preventable blindness worldwide. She graduated in 2015 and was honored with the university's 21st Century Leader Award. Dorothy has also received academic fellowship awards from the National Science Foundation and American Society for Microbiology.