On the Horizon: New findings in tick biology, ecology, and control

(Logo created by J.F. McLaughlin)

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Ever wanted to enjoy the outdoors without the prospect of tick bites and tick-borne diseases? You’re not alone! With an up-“tick” in tick-borne disease cases, it is important to understand tick biology and ecology in order to manage your risk. Sponsored by the Eastern Branch, this webinar featured a panel of tick experts to share their current research on tick biology, ecology, and control. Our panel also answered audience questions on how you can protect yourself from tick bites while outdoors.

Panelist: Dr. Erika Machtinger

Dr. Erika Machtinger holds a B.S. from the University of Delaware in Wildlife Conservation and Ecology, and a M.S. and PhD in Entomology from the University of Florida. Currently, she is an Assistant Professor at Pennsylvania State University. As the principal investigator for the Veterinary Entomology Laboratory, her research focuses on arthropod pests of veterinary concern including ticks, mange, and flies.

Panelist: Dr. Holly Gaff

Dr. Holly Gaff is a Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Old Dominion University. Dr. Gaff earned her Ph.D. in Mathematics at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Dr. Gaff’s research interests have focused mainly on studying the ecology of ticks and tick-borne diseases through an active surveillance project and mathematical modeling.

Panelist: Dr. Maria del Pilar Fernandez

Dr. Fernandez is an assistant professor at the Allen School for Global Health at Washington State University. As a disease ecologist her research focuses on the eco-epidemiology of zoonotic diseases, and in particular, vector-borne diseases. Her main research interests lay in understanding the transmission of zoonotic diseases as complex socio-ecological systems, combining methods from epidemiology and ecology. The ultimate goal is to identify critical factors affecting disease transmission, which will aid in the design of improved intervention strategies to alleviate the disease burden in affected communities.

Panelist: Dr. Saravanan Thangamani

Dr. Saravanan Thangamani is a SUNY Empire Innovation Professor at the Upstate Medical University. He is the Director of the SUNY Center for Vector-Borne Diseases and the Vector Biocontainment Laboratories. He is an expert in vector-borne diseases, specifically tick-borne and mosquito-borne diseases caused by pathogens such as Powassan virus, Heartland virus, Borrelia burgdorferi, Chikungunya, and Zika virus.
Moderator: Karen Poh


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