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Dr. Jason Blackburn


Dr. Jason K. Blackburn

Associate Professor

Director, Spatial Epidemiology & Ecology Research Laboratory (SEER Lab)


(352) 294-7501

Focus Areas

Areas of Specialization

  • Zoonotic diseases (those that affect animals and humans)
  • Wildlife diseases
  • Disease transmission pathways & spillover between species
  • Ecological niche modeling
  • Spatio-temporal modeling for epidemiology
  • Disease ecology
  • Anthrax transmission dynamics

Educational Background

  • PhD in Medical Geography (Minor: Pathobiology), Louisiana State University, 2006
  • M.S. in Medical Geography, Louisiana State University, 2003
  • B.S. in Physical Geography, Louisiana State University, 2001

Recent Courses

  • GEOG 6938: Applications in GIS for Spatial Epidemiology & Disease Ecology – offered in the spring semester

Recent Graduate Students


  • Morgan Walker


In My Own Words

I am an Associate Professor of Geography and a principal investigator in the Emerging Pathogens Institute and the director of the Spatial Epidemiology and Ecology Research Laboratory (SEER Lab), which is jointly housed in Geography and the EPI. My research interests focus on the ecology and spatio-temporal patterns of zoonotic diseases, those that impact animals and humans. Primarily my laboratory is concentrated on bacterial pathogens, such as anthrax, brucellosis, plague, and tularemia. We employ ecological niche modeling, spatio-temporal clustering techniques, and ecological modeling to historical and field-collected empirical data related to disease outbreaks and pathogen distributions. Specifically we work on select agent studies in the former Soviet Republics of Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan, as well as Botswana, and the American West.  I also work with colleagues from the UF Vet School on projects in St. Kitts and Nevis and the island nation of Dominica. The SEER Lab is currently funded by CRDF Global, the Department of Energy, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health (through MIDAS and NIEHS funding), and the USDA.  In addition my lab’s work on zoonotic diseases, I also have research interests and continue to publish on shark biology and ecology, marine mammal biology, and large predatory cats (cougars and ocelots) in Texas. My teaching philosophy is to directly engage students in research and the scientific writing process in the classroom and in the field.  My graduate students gain direct research experience through involvement in domestic and international projects and co-publication of their graduate research. My course material is updated each year with new literature, new GIS practical labs, and new techniques being applied in Medical Geography, Spatial Epidemiology, Geospatial Science, and Disease Ecology.

Recent Publications

Lentz JA, Blackburn JK, Curtis AJ (2011) Evaluating Patterns of a White-Band Disease (WBD) Outbreak in Acropora palmata Using Spatial Analysis: A Comparison of Transect and Colony Clustering. PLoS ONE 6(7): e21830. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0021830

Kathleen A. Alexander, Jason K Blackburn, and Emmanuel A Frimpong. 2011. Buffalo and Maslow’s hammer. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 9: 302–303.   doi:10.1890/1540-9295-9.5.302

Kracalik, I., Lukhnova, L., Aikimbayev, A., Pazilov, Y., Temiralyeva, Blackburn, J.K. 2011. Incorporating retrospective clustering into a prospective cusum methodology for anthrax: Evaluating the effects of disease expectation. Spatial and Spatio-temporal Epidemiology 2(1): 11-21.

Blackburn, J.K., A. Curtis, T.L. Hadfield, B. O’Shea, M.A. Mitchell, M.E. Hugh-Jones. 2010. Confirmation of Bacillus anthracis from Flesh-eating Flies Collected during a West Texas Anthrax Season. Journal of Wildlife Diseases 46(3): 918-922.

Blackburn, J.K. 2010. Integrating Geographic Information Systems and Ecological Niche Modeling into Disease Ecology: A Case Study of Bacillus anthracis in the United States and Mexico. In: Emerging and Endemic Pathogens. NATO Science for Peace and Security Series A: Chemisty and Biology 00(2): 59-88. DOI: 10.1007/978-90-481-9637-1_7

Jason K. Blackburn, Mark A. Mitchell, Mary-Claire Holley Blackburn, Andrew Curtis and Bruce A. Thompson (2010) Evidence of Antibiotic Resistance in Free-Swimming, Top-Level Marine Predatory Fishes. Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine: January 2010, Vol. 41, No. 1, pp. 7-16.

Joyner TA, Lukhnova L, Pazilov Y, Temiralyeva G, Hugh-Jones ME, Aikimbayev, A., Blackburn, J.K. (2010) Modeling the Potential Distribution of Bacillus anthracis under Multiple Climate Change Scenarios for Kazakhstan. PLoS ONE 5(3): e9596. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0009596

Aikembayev AM, Lukhnova L, Temiraliyeva G, Meka-Mechenko T, Pazylov Y, Zakaryan S, Denissov, G., Easterday, RW, Van Ert, MN, Keim, P, Francesconi, SC, Blackburn, JK, Hugh-Jones, ME, Hadfield, T. Historical distribution and molecular diversity of Bacillus anthracis, Kazakhstan. Emerg Infect Dis [serial on the Internet]. 2010 May DOI: 10.3201/eid1605.091427

Hugh-Jones, ME & Blackburn, JK. 2009. The ecology of Bacillus anthracis. Molecular Aspects of Medicine 30(6): 356-367.

Blackburn, J.K., A. Curtis, F. Currin Mujica, F. Jones, P. Dorn, R. Coates. 2008. The Development of the Chagas’ Online Data Entry System (CODES-GIS). Transactions in GIS 12(2): 249-265.


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