Jonathan Epstein, PhD

  • Adjunct Associate Professor of Epidemiology


Dr. Jonathan Epstein's research focuses on the ecology of emerging zoonotic viruses that impact animals and people, particularly those associated with bats, such as Nipah, Ebola, SARS and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). He has been working in South and Southeast Asia studying Nipah virus ecology since 2003. He directs disease surveillance and research activities at EcoHealth Alliance in Asia and West Africa, including a study of henipavirus and filovirus spillover in indigenous communities in Malaysia. In 2004, Dr. Epstein was part of the team that discovered that bats were the reservoir for SARS coronavirus (SARS-CoV) in China. In 2012 he and colleagues from EHA and the Center for Infection and Immunity at MSPH first identified MERS CoV in bats and camels in Saudi Arabia and in 2019, discovered Zaire ebolavirus in a bat species in Liberia - the first evidence of Ebola Zaire in a bat in West Africa. Dr. Epstein has served as a technical consultant for WHO, OIE, FAO, and the Institute of Medicine's Forum on Microbial Threats. He is the Chief Science Advisor for a new exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History called "Outbreak: epidemics in a connected world" (open 2018-2021). Dr. Epstein's research has been published in high impact journals including Science, Nature, PNAS and Cell, and his work has been featured in the PBS documentary Spillover: Zika, Ebola & Beyond and on 60 minutes.

Academic Appointments

  • Adjunct Associate Professor of Epidemiology

Credentials & Experience

Education & Training

  • Other, 2002 Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine
  • MPH, 2002 Tufts University School of Medicine
  • PhD, 2017 Kingston University

Committees, Societies, Councils

Vice President for Science and Outreach, EcoHealth Alliance

Adjunct Associate Professor, Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine

Adjunct Clinical Associate Professor, Tufts University School of Medicine

Adjunct Associate Professor, Mt. Sinai Icahn School of Medicine

Editorial Boards

One Health Outlook

Honors & Awards

Commencement Speaker, Tufts University Medical School Graduate Programs in Public Health (2014)

Top ten

Young Alumni Achievement Award, Tufts University (2012)

Outstanding Alumnus Award, Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine (2007)

Delta Omega Honor Society (public health) 2006


Research Interests

  • Environmental Health
  • Global Health
  • Infectious Diseases