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 Alan  Hitch

Alan Hitch Associate Professor of Data Science


My research interests include vertebrate ecology, epidemiology, Bayesian analysis, and disease surveillance.  I use a combination of occupancy estimation and hierarchical Bayesian models to analyze ecological, serological, and epidemiological data.  I am looking for project collaborators and potential students who are interested in the nexus between vertebrate ecology and disease surveillance.  Currently, I am involved with research projects in Cambodia, Kazakhstan, West Africa, and Harrisburg, PA.  Using occupancy estimation, I am developing bat and rodent habitat relationship models to predict host-pathogen occurrences at large spatial scales in Cambodia. I am also developing a study design and survey protocol to examine the probability of co-occurrence among bats and camels at communal watering holes, where spillover may occur in Kazakhstan.  Additionally, I am working in West Africa (Sierra Leone, Senegal, and Nigeria) to understand bat ecology using bat captures and bioacoustics.  Ecological results will be used to better understand host-pathogen relationships. Lastly, I am co-leading a project in Harrisburg, PA using wastewater epidemiology to model the temporal and spatial aspects of SARS-CoV-2.


I have developed, teach, and am the course lead for three courses at HU:

  • ANLY 505 (M.S.) – Data Simulation, Bayesian Modeling, and Inference
  • ANLY 512 (M.S.) – Data Visualization
  • ANLY 705 (PhD.) – Applied Predictive Modeling

Selected Publications

Mukhit B. Orynbayev, Alan T. Hitch, Aslan A. Kerimbayev, Raikhan K. Nissanova, Kulyaisan T. Sultankulova, Rashida A. Rystayeva, Zamira D. Omarova, Markhabat M. Kassenov, Elmira T. Tailakova, Gavin J. Smith, Ian H. Mendenhall. 2022. “Serological exposure in Bactrian and dromedary camels in Kazakhstan to a MERS or MERS-like coronavirus.” Transboundary and Emerging Diseases 69 (5)

Neil M. Furey, Vuong T. Tu, Alan T. Hitch, Awatsaya Pimsai, Chor Kimashalen, Buor Vuthy, Yim Raksmey, Chheang Sarak, Sophie A. Borthwick, Lena Ch’Ng, Say Sinly, Gabor Csorba, Ith Saveng, Gavin J. Smith, Cheang Dany, and Ian H. Mendenhall. 2021. “First records of seemingly rare bats (Mammalia: Chiroptera) in Cambodia, with a revised checklist of species for the country.” Acta Chiropterologica 23 (2)

Kyle N. Armstrong, Sylvia Clarke, Aimee Linke, Annette Scanlon, Philip Roetman, Jacqui Wilson, Alan Hitch, and Steven C. Donnellan. 2021. “Citizen science implements the first intensive acoustics-based survey of insectivorous bat species across the Murray-Darling Basin of South Australia.” Australian Journal of Zoology 68 (6).

Nicolas Nesi, Georgia Tsagkogeorga, Susan M. Tsang, Violaine Nicolas, Aude Lalis, Annetta T. Scanlon, Silke A Riesle-Sbarbaro, Sigit Wiantoro, Alan T Hitch, Javier Juste, Corinna A Pinzari, Frank Bonaccorso, Christopher M. Todd, Burton K. Lim, Nancy B. Simmons, Michael R. McGowen, and Stephen Rossiter. 2021. “Interrogating Phylogenetic Discordance Resolves deep splits in the rapid radiation of Old World Fruit bats (Chiroptera: Pteropodidae).” Systematic Biology 70 (6)