Carolina Perez-Heydrich

Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences
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149 Science and Math Building
(919) 760-8020

Areas of Expertise
  • Spatial epidemiology
  • Biostatistics
  • Population health

Work Experience

Dr. Carolina Perez-Heydrich will coordinate the new Public Health major and minor at Meredith College. She teaches an introductory biology course for non-majors, along with core courses in biostatistics, epidemiology, and public health for the new major. Her primary research interests are focused on spatial epidemiology and the interplay between population health outcomes and host-environment interactions. Specifically, her work addresses the role of neighborhood/environmental factors on population patterns of disease, and involves the use of spatial data to address topics associated with infectious disease and public health.  Dr. Perez-Heydrich also has experience serving as a statistical consultant/collaborator on population health projects directed by MEASURE DHS and the UNC Spatial Health Research Group.  Additionally, she collaborates as a biostatistician on projects related to veterinary public health with other academic as well as federal partners.  Prior to starting at Meredith College in August 2013 Perez-Heydrich was a postdoctoral fellow jointly appointed by the Carolina Population Center and UNC Department of Biostatistics.  She has a Master’s of Public Health degree in Biostatistics, and a Ph.D. in veterinary medical sciences.

Academic Credentials
  • M.P.H. in Biostatistics, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2012
  • Ph.D. in Veterinary Medical Sciences, University of Florida, 2010
  • B.S. in Biology, Davidson College, 2003


Dr. Perez-Heydrich is currently mentoring students on the following research projects: (1) Quantifying the indirect effects of community-level interventions on malaria incidence, and (2) Effectiveness of prenatal services on birth outcomes of mothers exposed to arsenic.  Both projects make use of global health surveillance data from underdeveloped countries provided by MEASURE DHS, a contract research organization funded by USAID. 

In (1), Perez-Heydrich is working with a student researcher to formally assess the effectiveness of community-level anti-malarial interventions, such as insecticide-treated bednet use, outdoor residual spraying, and educational campaigns.  Past studies have indicated that community-wide practices can outperform individual preventative behaviors with regard to reducing the incidence of vector-borne diseases.  Using tools involving geographic information systems (GIS) and statistical computing, the current project aims to formally quantify the indirect protection conferred by community-level interventions and compare this indirect protection with the direct protection resulting from individual practices. 

The focus of (2) is to investigate effects of arsenic exposure on birth outcomes.  Exposure to toxins during and before fetal development has been linked to birth defects and/or chronic diseases in offspring.  The purpose of this research project is to determine how access to antenatal care services contributes to any improvement in birth outcomes, such as the incidence of birth defects and/or infant mortality.  As with (1), students working on this project will make use of GIS and statistical computing to address the research question. 

Dr. Perez-Heydrich also fosters research interests in wildlife diseases through collaborations with scientists at the USGS National Wildlife Health Center and other academic institutions.  Currently, she is working on a project addressing spatial patterns of leprosy incidence in nine-banded armadillo populations with ecologists and biologists at the University of Florida and Valdosta State University. 

  • NIEHS T32 Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2010-12
  • Morris Animal Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship, 2008-10


Perez-Heydrich, C., J. L. Warren, C. R. Burgert, and M. E. Emch. 2013. Guidelines on the Use of DHS GPS Data. Spatial Analysis Reports No. 8. Calverton, Maryland, USA: ICF International.

Loughry, W. J., C. Perez-Heydrich, C. M. McDonough, and M. K. Oli. (2013). Population ecology of the nine-banded armadillo in Florida. Journal of Mammology, 94: 408-416.

Warren, J. and C. Perez-Heydrich. (2013). Bayesian spatial design of optimal deep tubewell locations in Matlab, Bangladesh. Environmetrics, DOI:10.1002/env.2218.

Loughry, W. J., C. Perez-Heydrich, C. M. McDonough, and M. K. Oli. (2013). Population Dynamics and Range Expansion in Nine-banded Armadillos. PLoS ONE, 8(7).

Perez-Heydrich, C., J.M. Braly, S. Giebultowicz, J.J. Winston, M. Yunus, P.K. Streat_eld, and M. Emch. (2012). Social and spatial processes associated with childhood diarrheal disease in Matlab, Bangladesh. Health & Place.

Winston, J., V. Escamilla, C. Perez-Heydrich, M. Carrel, M. Yunus, P. K. Streat_eld, and M. Emch. (2013). Deep tubewells protect against childhood diarrhea in Matlab, Bangladesh. American Journal of Public Health, 103: 1287-2191.

Emch, M., E. D. Root, S. Giebultowicz, M. Ali, C. Perez-Heydrich, and M. Yunus. (2012). Integration of Spatial and Social Network Analysis in Disease Transmission Studies. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 102: 1004-1015.

Knapp, C.R., C. Perez-Heydrich. (2012). Using non-conspicuous demographic parameters to understand selected impacts of disturbance on a long-lived reptile. Endangered Species Research. 17: 193-200.

Perez-Heydrich, C., K. Jackson, L.D. Wendland, and M.B. Brown. (2012). Combining field studies with published data: A meta-analysis of gopher tortoise survival. Herpetologica. 68(3): 334-344.

Perez-Heydrich, C., M.K. Oli, and M.B. Brown. (2012). Long-term impacts of recurring disease on population dynamics and persistence of a long-lived wildlife host. Oikos. 121: 377-388.

Knapp, C., S. Alvarez-Clare, and C. Perez-Heydrich. (2010). The inuence of landscape heterogeneity and dispersal on survival of neonate insular iguanas. Copeia. 2010(1): 62-70.

Ozgul, A., M.K. Oli, B.M. Bolker, and C. Perez-Heydrich. (2009). Upper respiratory tract disease, force of infection, and effects on survival of gopher tortoises. Ecological Applications. 19: 786-798.

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