Dr. María Eugenia (Maru) Castellanos Reynosa is a Lecturer in Epidemiology and Communicable Disease Control at the College of Public Health, Medical and Veterinary Sciences. 

Maru is an epidemiologist and medical microbiologist with over 13 years of experience researching infectious diseases, particularly tuberculosis, malaria and HIV.  She has a BSc in Chemical Biology (Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala, Guatemala), a Master in Medical Microbiology (Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, United Kindom) and a PhD in Epidemiology (University of Georgia, United States).

Her research focuses on infectious diseases that disproportionately affect underserved populations from the Tropics. She is dedicated to advancing our knowledge of the factors that impact the burden of these diseases.  She has expertise in the data collection, analysis and implementation of epidemiological studies in low-income settings, as shown by her work in Africa and Latin America. She has maintained ongoing collaborations with multiple national and international partners in several projects related to HIV/opportunistic infections, malaria, and COVID-19.   She works actively with international partners (University of Georgia, Emory University, ISGlobal, Barcelona Institute for Global Health, US Centre for Disease Control, Universidad del Valle de Guatemala).

Her teaching excellence was acknowledged when she received a Dean’s Teaching Excellence Award (2023).  She has been responsible for coordinating and teaching four undergraduate and post-graduate subjects (370 students/year).  Her teaching philosophy embraces an integrative and research-informed pedagogy, connecting the theory learned in the classroom with practical, real-world applications.  Her commitment to innovative teaching and promoting active learning and student engagement continues to expand.  She is the project leader for a 2022/23 JCU Learning and Teaching Innovation Grant Award ($10,000).  Through this work, Maru and her team are creating a series of online interactive activities for students in TM5525: Communicable Disease Control and TM5515: Epidemiology for Public Health using actual disease outbreak scenarios from the Tropics.

Her leadership and service efforts have focused on enhancing research capacity within JCU and internationally. Within JCU, she is a CPHMVS Research and Research Education Training Committee member. She was the treasurer for the Divisional Early and Middle Career Committee (2021-2022).  She supports the JCU HDR Cohort Program and the Murtupuni Centre for Rural and Remote Health.  Internationally,  she is a member of the Advisory Committee for a Fogarty program aimed at advancing research for the prevention of childhood pneumonia.

She is a mentor for the 2023 Public Health Association of Australia National Mentoring Program and a peer reviewer for international scientific journals (e.g., PLOS One, Malaria Journal, American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, Scientific African).

Maru is a member of The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH),  the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (RSTMH) and the Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD).

 Current funded projects:

1.  Choose your adventure: Using an online game to investigate disease outbreaks and improve learner engagement. Learning and Teaching Innovation Grant (Large – Category B:  Promoting active learning and student engagement) 2022/2023.  Centre for Education and Enhancement. Principal Investigator.

2. Clinical characteristics and outcomes of HIV patients co-infected with tuberculosis and histoplasmosis in an urban Latin American setting.  RSTMH's  2021 Small Grants Programme.   Funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), UK. Principal Investigator.

3.  Research capacity building for control of neglected tropical diseases: A path for sustainable societies in the tropics. This project is being provided under The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's International Relations Grant Program as part of the Council on Australia Latin America Relations (COALAR) Grant Round 2021-2022.  Principal Investigator.

PacMOSSI Consultancy (2022-present)

A consultant for the PacMOSSI consortium members at JCU, WHO and national vector-borne disease control programs in Pacific Island countries and areas (PICs).  In this role, she has directly influenced policy development by supporting the Ministries of Health in Pacific Island Countries to develop national strategic plans to combat mosquito-borne diseases.

Engagement (Media)

  • HS2402: Health Professional Research 1 (Level 2; CNS & TSV)
  • TM5515: Epidemiology for Public Health (Level 5; TSV)
  • TM5525: Communicable Disease Control (Level 5; TSV)
  • TM5578: Emerging Public Health Threats: Navigating Systems and Responses (Level 5; TSV)
  • Tuberculosis, malaria, HIV, global health, infectious diseases epidemiology, diagnostics, molecular epidemiology.
  • Infectious diseases epidemiology, public health, medical microbiology, introduction to epidemiology, clinical laboratory.
  • 2021 to present - Lecturer Epidemiology and Communicable Disease Control, James Cook University (Townsville, Australia)
  • 2019 to 2021 - Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of Georgia (Georgia, Unites States of America)
  • 2014 to 2019 - Research Assistant, University of Georgia (Georgia, Unites States of America)
  • 2008 to 2014 - Research Assistant, Universidad del Valle (Guatemala, Guatemala)
Research Disciplines
Socio-Economic Objectives
  • 2023 - Teaching Excellence-Colleague' View College of Public Health, Medical and Veterinary Sciences James Cook University, Australia
  • 2018 - Dissertation Completion Award, Graduate School, University of Georgia.
  • 2013 - Fulbright LASPAU Faculty Development Program in the United States.
  • 2011 - Top 3 Best Posters by Young Researchers. 7th European Congress on Tropical Medicine & International Health. Barcelona, Spain.
  • 2008 - Honor Roll in MSc Medical Microbiology. Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and University of Liverpool.
  • 2016 to 2018 - Schlumberger Foundation Faculty for the Future Program.
  • 2021 - Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
  • 2020 - International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease.
  • 2020 - The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
  • 2019 - University of Georgia’s Beta Chi Chapter of the Delta Omega Honor Society.
  • 2018 - Reviewer PLOS ONE
  • 2016 - Society for Epidemiological Research

These are the most recent publications associated with this author. To see a detailed profile of all publications stored at JCU, visit ResearchOnline@JCU. Hover over Altmetrics badges to see social impact.

Journal Articles

ResearchOnline@JCU stores 31+ research outputs authored by Dr Maria Castellanos Reynosa from 2012 onwards.

Current Funding

Current and recent Research Funding to JCU is shown by funding source and project.

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) - Council on Australia Latin America Relations (COALAR)

Research capacity building for control of neglected tropical diseases: A path for sustainable societies on the tropics

Indicative Funding
$25,760 over 1 year
The international community has pledged through the Sustainable Development Goals to eliminate neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) by 2030. NTDs are distributed in several regions in the world, including Oceania and The Americas, and are estimated to affect close to 2 billion people. Guatemala and Queensland, Australia share similar ecological and tropical environments that enhances their susceptibility to epidemics caused by NTDs, particularly considering the effect of climate change. The Universidad del Valle de Guatemala (UVG) and James Cook University (JCU) will conduct a project to build NTDs data analysis capacity and support the efforts of early and middle career researchers to conduct collaborative research in Australia and Guatemala. The project consists of a mixture of online workshops and online research meetings.
Maria Castellanos Reynosa, Theophilus Emeto, Oyelola Adegboye and Faith Alele (College of Public Health and Medical & Vet Sciences)
Neglected tropical diseases; Capacity building; Global Health; Tropics; Latin America

Advisory Accreditation: I can be on your Advisory Panel as a Primary or Secondary Advisor.

These Higher Degree Research projects are either current or by students who have completed their studies within the past 5 years at JCU. Linked titles show theses available within ResearchOnline@JCU.

  • International Travel and medical events - an Australian travelinsurance perspective in the Covid-19 era (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Climate change and the Incidence of Bacteraemia and Antimicrobial Resistance from Foodborne Pathogens in Queensland, Australia (PhD , Secondary Advisor)

The map shows research collaborations by institution from the past 7 years.
Note: Map points are indicative of the countries or states that institutions are associated with.

  • 5+ collaborations
  • 4 collaborations
  • 3 collaborations
  • 2 collaborations
  • 1 collaboration
  • Indicates the Tropics (Torrid Zone)

Connect with me

  • 41.117, Public and Indigenous Health (Townsville campus)
Advisory Accreditation
Primary Advisor
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