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.
The Criscione Lab had a recent paper accepted in the Journal of Parasitology “Trematode clone abundance distributions: an eco-evolutionary link between parasite transmission and parasite mating systems”.
Dr. Criscione was named Associate Head for Academic Affairs in the Biology Department
Dr. Criscione was the Chair of the Local Organizing Committee for the American Society of Parasitologists, and hosted this year’s conference here at Texas A&M University. At the meeting, Dr. Criscione presented his work for quantifying clonal transmission in trematode parasites. PhD student Jenna Hulke presented her work on testing for inbreeding and inbreeding depression in the trematode Alloglossidium renale. New PhD students Chelsea and Ryne presented their M.S. research conducted prior to coming to A&M.
During the conference, ASP hosted the outreach event “Parasitology on the Green”, where various Texas A&M parasitology labs, including the Criscione Lab, provided specimens and activities to teach about parasites to the public. Our lab provided a very spirited game of tapeworm hopscotch.
The lab completed about 3 weeks of field work in Georgia, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Louisiana.
Ryne Maness and Chelsea Thorn have officially joined the lab. Welcome!
Dr. Mary Janecka’s conservation research on the Texas endemic Concho water snake is now published in Conservation Genetics (can provide a web link to the Publications page)
Jenna Hulke will be presenting at the Student Postdoc Research Conference hosted by the Biology Department at A&M.
Chelsea Thorn and Ryne Maness have joined the lab as PhD rotation students.
Jenna Hulke’s paper “Quantifying bilateral infection patterns in the trematode Alloglossidium renale” was published in the Journal of Parasitology. See the Publications to view the paper.
Charles was an invited speaker at Sam Houston State University where he presented some new metrics for quantifying clone transmission in trematode parasites
Jenna Hulke presented her study on “Quantifying bilateral infections of parasites” at the virtual meeting of the American Society of Parasitologists.
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