I examine fundamental ecological and evolutionary questions in parasite systems and consider my research to be at the interface of ecology, evolution, and genetics. Parasitology provides a rich subject area for studies of ecology and evolutionary biology. Numerous topics such as ecosystem dynamics, mating systems, or coevolution can be addressed because parasites are extremely diverse. By diversity, I include not only the myriad of taxa that have independently evolved a parasitic lifestyle, but also the diversity in life cycles, modes of reproduction, host species, and ecosystems utilized by parasites. This diversity also allows for comparative studies to address theories or unifying principles that span ecosystems or taxonomic groups. Furthermore, there are many practical applications such as studying the evolution of drug resistance, or using parasite community structure to assess “ecosystem health”. My research interests address both basic and applied questions, and span three overlapping subject areas: 1) Genetics and Ecological Genomics, 2) Evolution: Population Genetics, Mating Systems, and Molecular Epidemiology, and 3) Ecology: Biodiversity, Conservation, and Natural History.
Congratulations to my PhD student Jenna Hulke who passed her prelims!!!
My former PhD student, Dr. Mary Janecka, was awarded a NSF Postdoctoral Fellowship for her proposal entitled “Host-parasite coevolution against the current: How do river architecture, unidirectional drift and host behavior shape parasite coevolutionary potential?”
Check out our recent publication in PNAS “Clonemate cotransmission supports a role for kin selection in a puppeteer parasite”
See some of the press releases:
Our paper on pentastome morphology was recently published in the Journal of Parasitology.
Mary Janecka defended her dissertation! Congratulations Dr. Janecka! Mary will be doing a postdoc with Dr. Jessica Stephenson at the University of Pittsburgh.
Jenna Hulke joined the lab as a new PhD student. Welcome Jenna! Her research will examine the interface of parasite mating systems and complex life cycles using comparative population genetics.
Andrew Sakla completed his M.S.! Congratulations! He will be moving onto a Research Associate Position at UT Southwestern in Dallas