Mariola Espinosa’s primary research interest is the role of disease and public health in the history of Latin America and the Caribbean. Specifically, she concentrates on how diseases and responses to them shape relations of power between the peoples of the region and other actors in the international system. 

Her book, Epidemic Invasions: Yellow Fever and the Limits of Cuban Independence, 1878-1930, focuses on the many ways that endemic yellow fever in Havana influenced Cubans' relationships with the United States during the latter decades of the nineteenth century and early decades of the twentieth. 

She is currently working on a book exploring medical understandings of fever in the French, British, Spanish, and U.S. Caribbean Empires.