Biology ETDs

Publication Date

Summer 7-15-2020


Tuberculosis and influenza-like illness cause major disease burden for humans. In our first study, we conducted a pangenome analysis of 67 Mycobacterium tuberculosis genomes from Peru. We supported the paradigm that M. tuberculosis is highly clonal; however, a small amount of genetic diversity originates from infrequent recombina- tion events. In our second study, we reviewed the literature for parameters of five common viruses that contribute to influenza-like illness: influenza, RSV, rhinovirus, human coronavirus, and adenovirus. We found that their epidemiological parameters vary considerably, and can have broad ranges; their basic transmission rates are the most important for model outcomes. When we ran numerical epidemic simulations by inputting historic mean parameter values into our deterministic model, human coronavirus hit the highest epidemic peak and caused the most total infections. In our third study, on COVID-19, we designed 216 model mitigations. Simulation results revealed that while social distancing and testing are important for slowing the spread of the virus, if resources prevent testing more than 50% of symptomatic individuals, control could be feasible with improved testing speed and accuracy.

Project Sponsors

University of New Mexico Department of Biology, UNM College of Arts and Sciences, Los Alamos National Laboratory




Mycobacterium tuberculosis, influenza-like illness, SARS-CoV-2, epidemiology, evolution, horizontal gene transfer

Document Type


Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name

UNM Biology Department

First Committee Member (Chair)

Helen J. Wearing

Second Committee Member

Lee Taylor

Third Committee Member

James Degnan

Fourth Committee Member

Diana Eleanor Northup

Fifth Committee Member

Cheryl P. Andam

Included in

Biology Commons