Dr. Jannelle Couret, The University of Rhode Island.
Of Mice, Mites, Microbes, and Men: The Ecology and Management of Lyme Disease
Human cases of tick-borne diseases have been increasing in the United States, particularly Lyme disease, which, caused by the bite of an infected blacklegged tick, is increasing in incidence and geographic range. To understand the drivers of tick populations, we investigated the role of Lyme spirochetes on blacklegged tick physiology, behavior, and survival, and demonstrate how tick phenotypes are altered in ticks infected with Lyme spirochetes. Next, we consider vertebrate hosts as an important context for understanding tick-microbe interactions. Finally, we discuss a model of enzootic transmission cycle of Lyme spirochetes to incorporate microbially mediated tick phenotypes as well as within-tick microbial interactions.
Jannelle Couret earned her bachelor’s degree from Princeton University in 2004, a Master of Environmental Management degree from Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment in 2006, and a Ph.D. from Emory University in Population Biology, Ecology, and Evolution of Infectious Disease in 2014. She joined the Department of Biological Sciences as a Multicultural Faculty Fellow in 2016 and is currently investigating Lyme disease through an NIH-NSF Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Disease award and tick management through a CDC award for the New England Center for Excellence in Vector-borne Disease (NEWVEC.org). Beyond the bugs, she conducts biology education research on impacts of racial representation in STEM materials on student learning.
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