Bryon Backenson

Studies disease outbreak and response, West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne diseases

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Bryon Backenson

Assistant Professor
School of Public Health
Department: Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Communicable disease outbreak response and investigation; West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne diseases; Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases; foodborne and waterborne diseases; surveillance of infectious diseases

Campus phone: (518) 473-4439
Campus email:


Bryon Backenson has been an Assistant Professor with the School of Public Health since 2005. He teaches the Infectious Disease Epidemiology course, and provides lectures in several other graduate and undergraduate courses, including Introduction to Public Health, Introduction to Environmental Health, Medical Entomology, Zoonoses, and Emerging Infectious Diseases. He also participates in the basic environmental health course that is given every year to train staff in local health departments throughout New York.

His primary job is director of the investigations and vector surveillance units of the New York State Department of Health's Bureau of Communicable Disease Control. In that role, he oversees the Department's investigation of communicable disease outbreaks in New York, and collaborates with other states and CDC on multi-state outbreaks. He also oversees surveillance of vector-borne diseases in the State, monitoring diseases carried by mosquitoes and ticks.

Backenson and his staff perform federally-funded research into tick-borne disease underreporting and prevention mechanisms, and is working with collaborators on genetic diversity of ticks and tick-borne pathogens in New York. He is co-author of the most recent national Lyme disease surveillance case definition, and serves on numerous national panels on vector-borne disease and the role of climate change on vector-borne diseases. He is also a graduate of the School of Public Health, which is where he got his MS in Epidemiology.