2020-2021 TRAINING GRANT RECIPIENTS
“Improving public health surveillance of Onchocerca lupi through increased host and vector screening”
Chandler Roe is a Ph.D. student in informatics and computing with an emphasis on bioinformatics at Northern Arizona University. Roe’s work in Dr. Jason Sahl’s lab has focused on population genomics of infectious diseases, with particular interest regarding the genomics of the vector-borne disease, Onchocerca lupi in Northern Arizona. She hopes her research conducting targeted and controlled sampling of hosts and vectors of O. lupi will directly inform vector control units to employ black fly control efforts near high-risk areas thus breaking the transmission cycle. Once completing her Ph.D., Roe plans to establish her career as a researcher in parasite genomics in academia.
Our center offers training that is intended to provide career development opportunities for individuals interested in public-health-relevant research on vector-borne diseases and to enable additional research and training opportunities that will be sought from other sponsors.
“Culex tarsalis insecticide resistance”
Billy Mortola is a master’s student at the University of Pacific (UOP). He graduated from UC Davis with a Bachelor of Science in fish, wildlife and conservation biology. Mortola’s research interests are rather broad as he finds anything related to animals, diseases, and toxicology to be fascinating. His plans moving forward are to complete his master’s degree and work in either a government or private sector involved in public health or environmental science.
“Strengthening vector management in the US Affiliated Pacific Islands”
“Tortoises, ticks, and tick-borne pathogens of the Mojave Desert”
Molly Bechtel worked as a desert tortoise biologist at United States Geological Survey (USGS). Ms. Bechtel graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) with a B.Sc. and M.Sc. in animal science. Currently, she is a Ph.D. student at Northern Arizona University (NAU) studying tick-borne disease in desert tortoises and how ticks and disease interact with the Mojave Desert burrow ecosystem and potentially, public health. Her current work has led her to become increasingly interested in how vector-borne disease and wildlife populations relate to public health and she plans to continue research in vector-borne disease interactions in wildlife and potential relationships to human populations. In her free time she founded and volunteers with the Northern Arizona Association for Women in STEM, which advocates for equal representation of women in the sciences.
“Molecular and serological investigations of the potential vertebrate reservoir host of the emerging tick-borne pathogen, Rickettsia philipii (364D)”
Vincent Mai is a master’s student in biology at San Francisco State University and a trainee in the Swei Lab. Mai completed his Bachelor of Science in environmental sciences at Seattle University. Mai is interested in using host-species analysis to develop spatial models of human PCTF risk that may directly inform public health practices. Mai hopes to find a professional career working in vector disease control after completing his master’s degree.
“Identifying biomarkers of pyrethroid resistance in wild Aedes aegypti from California”
Erin “Taylor” Kelly is a Ph.D. student in vector biology, interested in vector metabolism, reproduction, and mechanisms of insecticide resistance. Kelly completed her Bachelor of Science in biology and minor in chemistry at Santa Clara University. Taylor’s long-term goal is to either pursue work as a professor with an appointment that combines teaching and research or work as a vector control biologist.
- Evidence of local extinction and reintroduction of Aedes aegypti in Exeter California
- Corrigendum: Zika Virus Infection Results in Biochemical Changes Associated With RNA Editing, Inflammatory and Antiviral Responses in Aedes albopictus
- Frequency of sodium channel genotypes and association with pyrethrum knockdown time in populations of Californian Aedes aegypti
“Flea-borne typhus in California, a multi-year review: 2011 – 2019”
Kyle Yomogida is a Ph.D. student in the Graduate Group of Epidemiology at UC Davis. He graduated from California State University, Long Beach in 2017 with a degree in health science – community health education. His experiences in public health include health behavior research projects regarding prescription stimulant misuse and two years of work for Long Beach Communicable Disease Control Program in southern California. His interests include infectious and zoonotic diseases with his Ph.D. work, specifically focused on socioeconomic and environmental factors related to human flea-borne typhus incidences in southern California.
“Comparative genomics of Aedes albopictus in Kwajalein Atoll for developing arbovirus vector dispersal models”
Adam Vorsino is an ecologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) in Honolulu, Hawaii. Vorsino is dually charged with both developing tools and informing conservation managers of the most appropriate methodological and scientifically valid path forward. Vorsino is currently assisting with the development and advancement of the next generation of conservation tools to manage and solve some of the region’s most intractable conservation issues.
“Understanding the role of veterinary personnel and pet travel in regards to ticks and tick-borne disease in Alaska”
Gale Disler has recently completed her Master’s degree in public health from the University of Alaska, Anchorage (UAA). Her research interests include circumpolar health, One Health, and infectious disease. Disler hopes to be involved in research that examines the social and environmental factors that contribute to disease exposure.
“Developing high-resolution risk map of West Nile virus in Coachella Valley using ECOSTRESS data”
Matt, a Universities Space Research Association (USRA) postdoc supported by this program and by NASA, has a keen interest in vector-borne diseases and vector biology. He is pursuing a career in global health research studying vector-borne diseases. Ward earned his MSPH and Ph.D. from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. Most recently, Ward was a UJMT NIH Fogarty global health postdoctoral fellow at UNC-Chapel Hill, investigating the genetic variation of T. cruzi, the causative agent of Chagas disease in Peru.
“Orientation behavior of western tree hole mosquitoes, Aedes sierrensis (Ludlow)”
Kirsten Meredith is a Ph.D. student in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Utah with an interest in host discrimination and other odor-mediated behaviors of mosquitoes as well as their flight dynamics. Kirsten has a Bachelor of Science in biology from the University of Utah. Since insect vector biology intersects with many aspects of society, Kirsten’s main goal is to take what she learns from her Ph.D. and apply it to the interface between science and politics, education, business as well as outreach to the general public.
“Population genetic structure of the western black-legged tick, Ixodes pacificus”
Jeremiah Reyes is a Ph.D. student in biochemistry at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR). Jeremiah completed his B.S. in chemical engineering with a biomedical emphasis and mathematics minor at UNR. His primary research interests are identifying anti-tick vaccine targets using multi-omics tools. Jeremiah’s long-term goal is to pursue work as a military medical entomologist or work in the public health sector as a vector biologist.
The Pacific Southwest Regional Center of Excellence in Vector-Borne Diseases is supported through Cooperative Agreement Number 1U01CK000649-01 between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the University of California, Davis.
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