Our research interests are broadly focused on understanding the influence of physiology and innate immunity on mosquito vector competence and pathogen transmission.
Employing an interdisciplinary approach, our research efforts have concentrated on the study of mosquito immune cells known as hemocytes. As important modulators of immune function, we continue to define new roles of these cells in the mosquito immune system. Through fundamental studies defining their regulation, role in immune signaling, and cellular function, this work aims to provide much need knowledge into invertebrate immune cell dynamics and the physiological effects of blood-feeding and pathogen challenge.
Additional interests look to better understand how mosquito ecology and physiology shape WNV transmission and the introduction of invasive mosquito species. This research has been the result of leading mosquito surveillance efforts for the state of Iowa through collaboration with the Iowa Department of Public Health and participation in the Midwest Center of Excellence in Vector-Borne Disease.