Recording mosquitoes with cell phones to see if they have parasites!

In Doyeon’s first first author publication she used cell phones to record the wingbeats of mosquitoes infected with heartworm parasites and non-infected mosquitoes. Wingbeat recordings can be used to identify mosquito species and she wanted to see if these recordings could also be used to identify whether mosquitoes are infected with parasites or not!

She found that there is no significant difference between infected and non infected mosquitoes, but as mosquitoes have an increase in the number of infective worms (L3) stage, wingbeat frequency decreases significantly!

Very cool to work with AU CVM on this project with world renowned heartworm scientists and the team that invented ABUZZ-for cell phone identification of mosquito species!

Deer keds and new Bartonella sp. in white-tailed deer from Alabama

Great work to Shelby Zikeli and Katie Izenour for putting together this paper on ecotparasite from white-tailed deer in Alabama and the Bartonella spp. found in them. This was work that Shelby did for her Master’s thesis working with the AU Deer Lab. In a small population of deer in a well-known field side, ectoparasites, including Lipoptena mazamae, the neotropical deer ked were described and through screening of blood from deer and ectoparasites, Shelby found 4 Bartonella species! Three that are known zoonotic pathogens: Bartonella bovis, Bartonella schoenbuchensis, and Bartonella melophagi!

Also, in this study site in Alabama she also found deer and their keds to have a new clade of Bartonella sp. 1! Sometimes you can find new microbes in your own backyard, literally!

Check out the paper here

Some people confuse these deer keds with ticks. A good way to distinguish them is the number of legs they have. Keds are insects with 6 legs, ticks have 8!
Check out this new species of Bartonella sp. found in deer and their ectoparasites (keds)

Congratulations, Katie Izenour! You’re a Fulbright Fellow!

Very proud of PhD student, Katie Izenour, who was just awarded a year long Fulbright fellowship to study zoonotic pathogens in domestic animals in Cairo, Egypt. Katie volunteered at an animal shelter in Cairo a few years ago and realized that the public health impact that zoonotic pathogens may have on this heavily populated and often underrepresented region of the world may have. We are very proud of Katie and can’t wait to hear about her experiences!

Aedes albopictus is a competent vector of Zika virus

Grad student Ben Mckenzie’s first author publication was just released. In this paper, Ben used a meta-analysis approach to understanding vector competence in Ae. albopictus, an invasive mosquito with nearly worldwide distribution, for Zika virus.

Ben’s work is unique in that very few scientists have used this approach to synthesize and analyze laboratory studies of vector competence, which often have disparate results and different laboratory conditions (different mosquito and viral strains, source of bloodmeal, etc.).

Great work, Ben!

photo credit: CDC, DVBD

Congratulations Ben!

Ben McKenzie has been awarded Outstanding Graduate Student Oral Presentation for the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences at the Auburn University Student Symposium.

Congrats again for your many presentation awards!

Congratulations Abby Morgan!

Congratulations to undergraduate student, Abigail Morgan for receiving an Auburn University Undergraduate Research Fellowship! Abby has been a stellar student in the lab for the last year and this award is well-deserved! Stay tuned for some of her preliminary results on lemur parasites!

Malaria March Madness

Such a pleasure being a part of the Malaria March Madness conference at the University of Florida in Gainesville this week. Beautiful venue and a great group of colleagues and friends interested in malaria prevention research and vector surveillance and control!