Associate Professor Aparna Lal

BSc (Hons) Zoology, MSc (Wildlife Science), PhD (Public Health)
Fellow, Environment, Climate and Health, Research School of Population Health
ANU College of Health and Medicine

Areas of expertise

  • Public Health And Health Services 1117
  • Human Geography Not Elsewhere Classified 160499
  • Environmental Epidemiology 420203

Research interests

Spatial epidemiology


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, where I now work with a team of brilliant students and research associates in the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health.

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 to predict disease patterns in response to environmental change.

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.


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 10 Masters students, two Honours, two ANU Medical School students and 1 PhD candidate to completion.

Current student Projects include:

  • 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 health and well-being”. PhD candidate.
  • Ms Rose-Marie Anderson: "Infectious didesseas and climate change in Pacific Island Countries". PhD candidate.
  • Mr Jack Grentell and Ms Neisha Burton: "Water and health risks". ANU Medical students



Projects and Grants

Grants information is drawn from ARIES. To add or update Projects or Grants information please contact your College Research Office.

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Updated:  16 July 2024 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers