Associate Professor Aparna Lal

BSc (Honours) Zoology, MSc (Wildlife Science), PhD (Public Health)
Senior Fellow


I have an undergraduate degree in Zoology and then went on to do a Postgraduate Diploma in Wildlife Management in New Zealand and a Master’s degree in Wildlife Science in India when I spent 6 months following chasing green turtles and setting up grazing experiments in the Indian Ocean. Interviewing villagers living on the edge of India’s protected Tiger Reserves made me start thinking about disease transmission between wild animals, livestock and humans who live in close proximity to animals. This led me to do my PhD at the Department of Public Health at the University of Otago (New Zealand), graduating in 2014. I then moved to the ANU as a postdoctoral fellow with the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health working with the Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Modelling group and now as a Research Fellow in the Environment, Climate and Health group.

My Research focuses on how the physical environment, broadly defined, impacts human health and well-being. My projects combine public health surveillance with remote sensing, and land and water quality monitoring data to quantify, monitor and understand the processes that shape disease patterns. We use a wide range of techniques to examine research questions, with a focus on spatial models and temporal approaches.

I teach into three programs. I convene the Master of Public Health course on Human Health, Environment and Climate Change and lecture into the Master of Demography and Master of Philosophy (Applied Epidemiology) programs.



  1. Verret M, Berry P, Tiam Fook TC, Lal A, Hales S. 2016. Government of the Commonwealth of Dominica: Assessment of Climate Change and Health Vulnerability and Adaptation in Dominica.
  2. Lal A, Dobbins, T, Bagheri, N, Baker, MG, French, NP, Hales S. Cryptosporidiosis risk in New Zealand children under 5 years old is greatest in areas with high dairy cattle densities EcoHealth Accepted for publication 30 Sep 2016
  3. Ford L, Glass K, Veitch M, Wardell R, Polkinghorne B, Dobbins T, Lal A, Kirk M. Increasing incidence of Salmonella in Australia, 2000-2013. PLoS One Accepted for publication 20 Sep 2016
  4. GBD 2015 Disease and Injury Incidence and Prevalence Collaborators (including Lal A). Global, regional, and national incidence, prevalence, and years lived with Disability for 310 diseases and injuries, 1990-2015: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2015. Lancet Accepted for publication 18 Aug 2016
  5. GBD 2015 SDG Collaborators (including Lal A). Measuring the health-related Sustainable Development Goals in 188 countries: A baseline analysis from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2015. Lancet Accepted for publication 17 Aug 2016
  6. GBD 2015 Mortality and Causes of Death Collaborators (including Lal A). Global, regional, and national life expectancy, all‐cause and cause‐specific mortality for 249 causes of death, 1980–2015: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2015. Lancet Accepted for publication 14 July 2016
  7. Ibrahim Khalil, Danny Colombara (including Lal, A). Burden of diarrhea in the Eastern Mediterranean Region, 1990-2013: Findings from the Global burden of Disease study 2013. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene Accepted for publication 13 July 2016
  8. Lal A. 2016. Spatial modelling tools to integrate public health and environmental science, illustrated with infectious cryptosporidiosis. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health: doi: 10.3390/ijerph13020186
  9. Lal A, Cornish L, Fearnley E, Glass K, Kirk M. 2015. Cryptosporidiosis: A Disease of Tropical and Remote Areas in Australia. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases: doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0004078
  10. Lal A, Fearnley E, Kirk M. 2015. The risk of reported cryptosporidiosis in children <5 years in Australia is highest in very remote regions. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health: doi: 10.3390/ijerph120911815
  11. Lal A, Hales S, Kirk M, Baker MG, French NP. 2015. Spatial and temporal variation in the association between temperature and salmonellosis in New Zealand Australia and New Zealand Journal of Public Health: doi: 10.1111/1753-6405.12413
  12. Lal A, Lill AWT, McIntyre, MC, Hales S, Baker MG, French NP. 2014. Environmental change and enteric zoonoses in New Zealand: A systematic review of the evidence Australia and New Zealand Journal of Public Health: doi: 10.1111/1753-6405.12274.
  13. Conlan J, Lal A. 2014. Socio- economic burden of foodborne parasites. Invited book chapter in “Foodborne parasites in the food supply web: occurrence and control”. Edited by Alvin Gajadhar Published by Elsevier/Woodhead Publishing Ltd.
  14. Lal A. 2014. Gluttony in Green Turtles: When overeating can threaten species survival. Current Conservation, Research in Translation 5(2).
  15. Lal A, Hales S. 2014. Heterogeneity in hotspots: understanding spatio temporal patterns of neglected parasitic diseases Epidemiology and Infection 1-9
  16. Lal A, Ikeda T, French NP, Baker MG, Hales S. 2013. Climate Variability, Weather and Enteric Disease Incidence in New Zealand: Time Series Analysis. PLoS ONE, doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0083484.
  17. Lill AWT, Schallenberg M, Lal A, Savage C, Closs GP. 2013. Isolation and connectivity: relationships between periodic connection to the ocean and environmental variables in intermittently closed estuaries Estuarine Coastal and Shelf Science 128 (10): 76-83.
  18. Paterson R, Lal A, Dale M, Townsend CR, Poulin R, Tompkins DM. 2013. Exotic species competence for native trematodes: do multiple salmonids pose equal threats to native host-parasite dynamics? International Journal of Parasitology 2: 136-143.
  19. Lal A, Baker MG, French NP, Hales S. 2013. Potential effects of global environmental changes on cryptosporidiosis and giardiasis transmission Trends in Parasitology 29 (2):83-90.
  20. Lal A, Hales S, French N, Baker MG. 2012. Seasonality in Human Zoonotic Enteric Diseases: A Systematic Review. PLoS ONE; doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0031883.
  21. Lal A, Baker MG, French NP, Dufour M, Hales S. 2011. The epidemiology of human salmonellosis in New Zealand, 1997-2008 Epidemiology & Infection: 1-10.
  22. Lal A, Arthur R, Marbà N, Lill AWT, Alcoverro T. 2010. Implications of conserving an ecosystem modifier: Increasing green turtle (Chelonia mydas) densities substantially alters seagrass meadows Biological Conservation 143(11): 2730-2738.
  23. Lill AWT, Lal A, Closs GP. 2010. Life history and reproduction of two abundant mysids (Mysidacea: Mysidae) in an intermittently open New Zealand estuary Marine and Freshwater Research 61, 633–641.
  24. Lal A. 2008. Preliminary evaluation of mammalian predator trapping efficacy at Macraes Flat, Otago. University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand. 53 p.


Available student projects

Projects are developed in consultation with interested students. Current student projects on offer include developing health risk maps for waterborne disease, in relation to environmental management of Australia’s water resources, the association between past climate and zoonotic disease outbreaks in Australia and New Zealand, examining spatial variation and quantifying the impact of socioeconomic, health care access and environmental factors on disease risk and the health risks associated with climatic extremes.

Current student projects

I have supervised 7 Honours/Masters/ANU Medical School students, and currently supervise 3 PhD candidates.

  • Ms. Cynthia Parayiwa:  "Cyclones, Maternal stress and foetal outcomes in Queensland".  PhD candidate. 
  • Mr Ripon Kumar Adhikary: "Spatial and seasonal changes in water quality and links to waterborne disease”. PhD candidate.
  • Ms Eimear Cleary: “Dynamics of malaria in PNG”. PhD candidate.