Justin Bahl

Epidemiology & Biostatistics
Department of Infectious Diseases, College of Veterinary Medicine
Institute of Bioinformatics
Center for Applied Pathogen Epidemiology and Outbreak Response
Center for the Ecology of Infectious Diseases
Center for Vaccines and Immunology

Curriculum Vitae

Professional Website

Epidemiology & Biostatistics

My faculty appointment is split between the College of Veterinary Medicine, the College of Public Health, and the Institute for Bioinformatics, where I contribute to teaching, research, and service areas in each unit. I have developed a cross-disciplinary research and training program focused on molecular systematics, pathogen evolution, and epidemiology.

My training in evolutionary biology, epidemiology and ecology has equipped me for a research career focused on infectious disease dynamics. In 2006, I joined the State Key Laboratory for Emerging Infectious Diseases as a post-doctoral fellow (Viral Ecology and Evolution, The University of Hong Kong). This lab is a WHO H5 reference laboratory for diagnosing influenza A/H5 infection. I later moved to Singapore to continue my postdoctoral training (Molecular Epidemiology, Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School) where I was promoted to Assistant Professor. In 2013, I joined the University of Texas School of Public Health in Houston as an Associate Professor before joining UGA in 2018. I was promoted to Professor in 2023.

My recent effort has focused on developing a multi-state, collaborative network of Public Health Laboratories and Departments (Georgia Department of Public Health, US Virgin Island Diagnostic Laboratory, Houston Health Department) and researchers across Georgia (UGA, Georgia Tech, August Medical College, Emory) to address data modernization needs, advanced molecular diagnostics, and surveillance, and applied molecular epidemiology. This research network has been established to address respiratory pathogens (respiratory syncytial virus, influenza A and B virus), Hospital-acquired infections, emerging antimicrobial-resistant pathogens, and wastewater surveillance. This collaboration will address workforce training needs in molecular epidemiology and establish an applied practical experience program in molecular epidemiology and bioinformatics. I am the academic lead for the Georgia Pathogen Genomics Center of Excellence, 1 of 5 CDC-funded Centers.

  • PhD, The University of Hong Kong, 2006, Molecular Systematics
Areas of Expertise
  • Molecular Epidemiology
  • Infectious Disease Dynamics
  • Viral Evolution and Phylodynamics
  • Disease Ecology
Course Instruction
  • EPID 7500 “Intro Coding in R for Public Health”
Research Interests

My research is focused on the molecular epidemiology, ecology, and genetic evolution of RNA viruses, particularly those that pose a risk to animal and human health. This work investigates how population structure, host immune pressure, geographic spread, and transmission bottlenecks shape viral genetic diversity. My programmatic goal is to support methodological advances, genomic data generation, management and integration with traditional epidemiological data streams, and data visualization to advance and promote pathogen sequence analysis to inform public health response to infectious disease. Current projects are funded by CDC, NSF, and NIH and direct contracts with state and regional Public Health Departments.

Selected Publications
News & Media Mentions
UGA Research (November 16, 2021):

Shoring up the species barrier

UGA Today (November 18, 2022):

CDC funds Pathogen Genomics Center of Excellence

UGA College of Public Health News Blog (November 18, 2022):

UGA Center building networks to strengthen statewide outbreak response