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Leticia De Souza Soares, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor


Ph.D. in Biology (Ecology, Evolution and Systematics), University of Missouri-St. Louis
MSc in Ecology, Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia, Brazil

Research Interests

As an evolutionary biologist, Soares' research passions gravitate around ornithology, parasitology and disease ecology. She is interested in understanding host-parasite interactions over time and across space, and how parasitic infections affect the life-history components of their hosts. Most of her research combines two groups of organisms with magnificent life-history strategies: birds and their haemosporidian parasites – a group of protozoans that includes the infamous pathogens that cause malaria (Plasmodium sp.) in several vertebrate species. Avian haemosporidian parasites are ubiquitous in nature, making this a suitable study-system to ask questions related to host-pathogen ecology and evolution. Currently, most questions she asks relate to determining how individual birds cope with infections and demanding life-cycle stages (e.g. reproduction and migration), as well as to estimating the effects of these pathogens in bird populations.

Publications and Media Placements

Soares L., Latta S. and Ricklefs R. (2017). The dynamics of avian haemosporidian assemblages through millennial timescales inferred from insular biotas of the West Indies. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 114 (25) 6635-6640. 

Soares L., Ellis V. and Ricklefs R. (2016), Co-infections of haemosporidian and trypanosome parasites in a North American songbird. Parasitology 143 (14): 1930-1938.

Soares L., Abad-Franch F. and Ferraz G. (2014), Epidemiology of cutaneous leishmaniasis in central Amazonia: a comparison of sex-biased incidence among rural settlers and field biologists. Tropical Medicine & International Health 19 (8): 988-995.