Emily S. Acheson

Image Emily Acheson
Spatial epidemiologist

Research focusing on space-time modelling of infectious diseases

Current research and/or projects

Dr. Acheson works with the Public Health Risk Sciences division within the National Microbiology Laboratory branch.

Her research focuses on identifying the roles of environmental change on infectious diseases. She specializes in the use of geographic information systems (GIS) and remote sensing to explore disease system complexity and the response of these disease systems to climate and land use changes. Focus areas include space-time modelling of fungal diseases, vector-borne diseases, and rabies.

Research and/or project statements

  • Modelling the geographic distribution of Blastomyces species according to climate and land use and determining the ecological factors most closely associated with its presence in the environment,
  • Developing ecological niche models of Cryptococcus gattii and Blastomyces species across Canada,
  • Using agent-based modelling to determine risk of rabies from red and Arctic foxes in Manitoba,
  • Mapping changes in the distribution of Ixodes scapularis in the northern US and Canada,
  • Using importation modelling to assess risk of various diseases coming into Canada from abroad.

Professional activities / interests

  • Supervises graduate students
  • Member of GREZOSP (Groupe de Recherche en Épidémiologie des ZOonoses et Santé Publique)
  • Gives guest lectures for university courses and workshops

Education and awards

Post-Doctoral Fellow in Spatial Epidemiology, Université de Montréal, 2022

PhD in Geography in collaboration with the BC Centre for Disease Control, University of British Columbia, 2020

MSc in Biology, University of Ottawa, 2015

HBSc in Biology, Environmental Science, and Professional Writing and Communication, 2012


Key publications

Acheson ES, Otterstatter M, Galanis E. (2023). Forest disturbance and disease: Exploring the effects of tree harvesting area on Cryptococcus gattii sensu lato infection risk, Vancouver Island, Canada, 1998-2014. Environmental Health Perspectives. 131(7). 


Acheson ES, Viard F, Buchanan T, Nituch L, Leighton P. (2023). Comparing control intervention scenarios for raccoon rabies in southern Ontario between 2015 and 2025. Viruses. 15(2): 528. 


Tardy O, Acheson ES, Bouchard C, Chamberland E, Fortin A, Ogden N, Leighton PA. (2023). Using mechanistic movement models to predict geographic range expansions of ticks and tick-borne pathogens: Case studies with the ticks Ixodes scapularis and Amblyomma americanum in eastern North America. Ticks and Tick-Borne Diseases. 14(4): 102161.


Acheson ES, Galanis E, Bartlett K, Klinkenberg B. (2019). Climate classification system-based determination of temperate climate detection of Cryptococcus gattii sensu lato. Emerging Infectious Diseases. 25(9): 1723-1726. 


Acheson ES, Kerr J. (2018). Nets versus spraying: Spatial modelling reveals indoor residual spraying targets Anopheles mosquito habitats better than mosquito nets in Tanzania. PLOS ONE. 13(10): e0205270.


Acheson ES, Galanis E, Bartlett K, Mak S, Klinkenberg B. (2017). Searching for clues for eighteen years: Deciphering the ecological determinants of Cryptococcus gattii on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Medical Mycology. 56(2): 129-144.


Acheson ES, Kerr J. (2015). Looking forward by looking back: Using historical calibration to improve forecasts of human disease vector distributions. Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases. 15(3): 173-183.


Acheson ES, Plowright A, Kerr J. (2015). Where have all the mosquito nets gone? Spatial modelling reveals mosquito net distributions across Tanzania do not target optimal Anopheles mosquito habitats. Malaria Journal. 14: 322.