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Disease Eco-Epidemiology

We research the ecology, evolution, and epidemiology of vector-borne, wildlife, and zoonotic diseases using field-based studies and molecular tools.  By understanding how pathogens are maintained in nature, we aim to identify novel targets for interventions to reduce disease risk to humans, wildlife, and domestic animal populations.Dr. Sara Hamer group 2016


  • August 2017

    Alyssa and coauthors' new findings of Chagas disease parasite in the government working dogs along the Texas-Mexcio border are published in PLoS Negl Trop Dis, and was reviewed in News-at-a-Glance in Science:

    Chagas disease in border dogs

    Chagas disease, which causes fever, swelling, and headaches and can lead to heart failure, is an emerging threat for humans in the southern United States. But it's also taking a toll on dogs, scientists reported last week in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases. The researchers took blood samples from 528 dogs, mostly Belgian Malinois and German shepherds, that are assisting the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in detecting narcotics or tracking humans along the Texas-Mexico border. Some 39 of the dogs had antibodies against Trypanosoma cruzi, the parasite that causes Chagas disease and is transmitted by bloodsucking insects known as “kissing bugs.” That number increased to 100 when inconclusive tests were judged positive. Although some infected dogs do not exhibit any symptoms, others develop debilitating cardiac disease that may lead to death. No vaccines or treatments to treat dogs infected with T. cruzi are approved in the United States.

  • August 2017 Congrats to our three Veterinary Medical Summer Research Training Program (VMSRTP) students that just presented their summer research at the NIH Veterinary Scholars Symposium: Julie Purnell, Sarah Slack, and Megan Ellis (From CSU).  Great work to grad student mentors Italo and Alyssa!
  • July 2017

    Whoop! Congrats Carolyn for being named the recipient of the 2017 American Committee of Medical Entomology (ACME) Young Investigator Award- Graduate on behalf of ACME and the overarching American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

  • June 2017

    Alyssa's NSF Grow propsal to study Chagas disease ecology with Dr. Ana Marie Jansen at FIOCRUZ has been funded! She has also been awarded travel funding from the CVM Student Self Directed Study Abroad Scholarship, and the CVM Advance Developmental Training Award.

  • June 2017 We've officially processed our 3,000th citizen-submitted kissing bug! Please read more about our Citizen Science program and how to submit bugs to our program at our website. You can also work with the interactive map to see the origin of all these bugs across ~15 states since 2013. Thanks to all citizen scientists to help generate this unprecedented dataset.  http://kissingbug.tamu.edu/

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