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Tetyana Vasylyeva

As a Branco Weiss Fellow, Dr. Tetyana Vasylyeva aims to apply portable genetic sequencing technology and molecular epidemiology methods to estimate times and locations of chronic viral infection transmission in populations of forced migrants.



Academic Career

  • Assistant Professor, Department of Population Health and Disease Prevention, Program in Public Health, University of California Irvine, USA, 2023-present
  • Assistant Professor, Division of Infectious Diseases and Global Health, Department of Medicine, University of California San Diego, USA, 2021-2023
  • Junior Research Fellow, New College, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom, 2018–2021
  • DPhil, Molecular Epidemiology, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom, 2014–2018
  • MSc, Epidemiology, School of Public Health, State University of New York at Albany, NY, USA, 2012–2014
  • MSc, Management in Public Health, National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, Kyiv, Ukraine, 2010–2012

Major Awards

  • Newkirk Fellowship, University of California Irvine, 2024
  • Juliana Cuyler Matthews Junior Research Fellowship in Biological Sciences, New College, University of Oxford, 2018-2021
  • Clarendon Fund Scholarship, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, 2014-2018
  • Fogarty International Training and Research Program Fellowship, State University of New York at Albany, New York, USA, 2012-2013

In the News


Branco Weiss Fellow Since

Research Category
Biological Sciences, Public Health

Research Location
Department of Population Health and Disease Prevention, Program in Public Health, University of California Irvine, USA


The world has seen a major increase in the number of forced migrants since 2015. Owing to the hardships of their journeys and the disruption of care, internally displaced people, refugees, and asylum seekers are at a higher risk of transmitting and acquiring chronic viral infections such as HIV and HCV. However, when infections in migrants are diagnosed, it is impossible to know whether they were acquired in their home countries or in waiting camps upon arrival in destination countries.

Phylodynamics, a branch of evolutionary biology, relies on viral genetic sequences to study viral phylogenetic trees and virus transmission dynamics. However, HIV and HCV data are rarely available from hard-to-reach populations such as forced migrants. Portable genetic sequencing technologies can be used “in the field”, away from well-equipped laboratories, allowing rapid answers to questions about virus transmissions in migrant populations.

Details of Research

Dr. Tetyana Vasylyeva will use portable genetic sequencing and molecular epidemiology to study HIV and HCV in internally displaced populations in Ukraine and in refugees in Italy. The study will include data collection (behavior and viral genetic data) in refugee camps and places of concentrated living for migrants, as well as phylodynamic and phylogeographic data analysis. Dr. Vasylyeva aims to answer questions about when virus transmissions happen (home/receiving country, or waiting camps), which can help to develop targeted preventative strategies in forced migrants’ communities. She will also include viral genetic data available from the host countries’ autochthonous population to identify and quantify viral exchange between the migrant and host communities. This research can contribute to the debate about migrants’ influence on epidemics in receiving countries.

In the best tradition of Branco Weiss-supported research,[nbsp]Dr. Vasylyeva’s project allows the deployment of a state-of-the-art scientific technology to resolve an urgent sociopolitical issue, now in a real-time field research framework.