In this issue of the Paper Trail, an arising and established researcher connect on the topic of host–pathogen associations in disease ecology and predicting their occurrence using machine learning. The former, a postdoctoral scholar at UC Davis, has set his sights on developing tools for surveillance of emerging viruses that pose pandemic threats, like Zika, West Nile, and Dengue. The latter, a scientist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, has already blazed a trail through research and the publication of two seminal papers. In an interview with PT, Pranav and Barbara discuss their career trajectories that led them to macroecology and machine learning, and the importance of iterating between model predictions and empirical data collection.—Stephen L. Young, Paper Trail editor
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