Keynote speakers


Kevin J. Olival

     Dr. Kevin J. Olival is Vice President for Research at EcoHealth Alliance, a global non-profit based in New York, USA dedicated to protecting wildlife and public health. His research over the last 15 years has focused on understanding the ecology and evolution of bats and the pathogens and parasites they live with. He has worked on a range of emerging infectious diseases, particularly viral zoonoses but also including wildlife diseases like White Nose Syndrome. Dr. Olival has been at the forefront of international field investigations to understand the origins, ecology, and transmission of: Nipah virus in Bangladesh and Malaysia; Coronaviruses in Southeast Asia, China, and Western Asia/Middle East; and Filoviruses in the Philippines, Bangladesh, and elsewhere. He is the Modeling and Analytics coordinator for the USAID PREDICT-2 project, and also oversees wildlife disease surveillance efforts in multiple countries under the project. Dr. Olival is passionate about using sound science to inform policies for both public health and bat conservation, and fostering communication between these two research communities.

Emma Teeling

     Prof. Emma Teeling is an international leader in the cross-cutting fields of mammalian phylogenetics and comparative genomics, with particular expertise in bat biology. She established the Laboratory of Molecular Evolution and Mammalian Phylogenetics in 2005, is the Founding Director of the Centre for Irish Bat Research at University College Dublin (UCD) and is the Head of Zoology, UCD (2018-present). She has been awarded prestigious grants- European Research Council (ERC) Starting grant (2013-2018), a Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), President of Ireland Young Researcher Award (2006-2012) and recently an Irish Research Council (IRC) Laureate Award (2018-2022). She successfully leads a prolific, internationally renowned research team of typically 10 people and has secured over >€5M in research funding. Her record of leadership and research excellence is demonstrated by her publication record of >93 internationally peer-reviewed papers, 6 book chapters, 4 invited subject reviews. A number of these publications have over-turned conventional paradigms in mammalian biology and therefore have been published in high profile journals such as Nature (n=1), Science (n=4), Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (n=3), Nature Communications (n=1), Nature Ecology and Evolution (n=1), Science Advances (n=1). Her high standing in the international community is highlighted by a total citation record of >7325; prestigious international keynote lectures; invited high profile collaborations such as Genome 10K (includes 64 scientific leaders assembled to sequence 10,000 vertebrate genomes); and, high profile invited public presentations (e.g. TEDx talk; ~ 512,138 views; BBC’s Science Club with Dara Ó Briain); nomination to prestigious academic boards and institutes (e.g. Irish Research Council Board, 2015; Member of Royal Irish Academy, 2016) and has been awarded Chevalier des Palmes Académiques, 2017 by the French Government for her research into bat biology.

Tanja Straka

     Dr Tanja Straka is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research in Berlin. Tanja’s research interests are centred around human-wildlife relationships, with a focus on bats in urban areas, and public engagement. Combining ecological research with social science theories, her interests have led to hold roles both in environmental NGOs and academia. She received her PhD in 2015 at the University of Melbourne, and her German Diplom in biology at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. Her work brought her around the world studying bats in Germany, India, New Zealand and Australia. Tanja is a committee member of the ‘International Association for Society and Natural Resource (IASNR)’ professional development group which supports students in their career undertaking interdisciplinary research, a ‘Women for Nature’ (Yves Rocher) awardee and former Conservation Leadership Fellow from the University of Queensland.

Sara Bumrungsri

     Asst. Prof. Dr. Sara Bumrungsri is a lecturer and also be a head of the department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Prince of Songkla University. Sara’s research interests are bat ecology and conservation. For fruit bat, he focus on foraging ecology of fruit bats and its role in pollination of canopy trees such as durian and petai, and mangrove tree. For insect eating bats, his current research deals with biology of open space bats like Chaerephon plicatus, a colonial bats which providing pest suppression service in rice field ecosystem. He received his PhD (Conservation Biology) in 2002 at University of Aberdeen and Spellazani award in 2010.