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Nicole Nova

RELP Cohort: 2022
School: Humanities and Sciences

Nicole Nova is an ecology and evolution Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Biology and a Center for Computational, Evolutionary and Human Genomics (CEHG) Predoctoral Fellow at Stanford. Her research focuses on the environmental, ecological and evolutionary mechanisms driving infectious disease emergence and spread in humans and wildlife. Nicole combines mathematical modeling with statistics, data science and genomics to study the ecology and evolution of disease transmission within and among different species. In particular, she uses approaches from population dynamics, population genetics and phylodynamics to study the adaptation and spread of canine distemper virus in wild carnivores in Alaska and Yellowstone. This work is funded by the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment. Nicole also studies climate drivers of mosquito-borne diseases and ecological predictors of pathogen sharing across taxa. Nicole is passionate about improving public, environmental and planetary health, and promoting wildlife conservation.

Nicole completed her undergraduate and graduate studies in dental surgery at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden. She later spent a year at Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center working on mathematical modeling of cancer evolution. Following that experience, she worked for over a year as a research associate at Duke University studying eco-evolutionary dynamics of infectious diseases; in particular, HIV and antibody coevolution. Before enrolling at Stanford, Nicole served as the director of Research Science Institute—a summer research program for talented high school students—at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). While at Stanford, Nicole completed a M.S. in statistics, and has been an active member of the Program for Disease Ecology, Health and the Environment and the Program for Conservation Genomics. She was recently a Stanford Data Science Scholar and a Philanthropic Educational Organization (PEO) Scholar. Nicole has received several research and teaching awards, including the Annabelle B. Bush Memorial Endowed Scholar Award from the International Chapter of the PEO Sisterhood, and an honorable mention of the Murray F. Buell Award for Excellence in Ecology from the Ecological Society of America (ESA).