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Check out our photostream for updates from the lab, field, and social events:



Posted August 21, 2018

Thanks to the Paws 4 Hearts Working Therapy Dogs for the donation in support of Chagas disease research!


Sujata in the news

Posted August 16, 2018

Great coverage of Dr. Sujata Balasubramanian and her genomics reesarch!

Fowlers chapter

Posted August 13, 2018

Carolyn and Sarah's new chapter on wildlife and Chagas disease is published in the new Fowler's Zoo and Wild Animal Medicine textbook (Volume 9), featuring Carolyn's original artwork and Gabe's insect photography!GetFileAttachment-1

Congrats, Lisa!

Posted August 03, 2018

Congrats to Research Associate Lisa Auckland for being seleted for a 2018 CVM Staff Recognition Award!  Lisa received a nice plaque and a financial award too!  Our whole team is sure lucky to have Lisa here to run the lab! 42860142105_59a28b6238_o (1)

Congrats Justin

Posted July 31, 2018

Congrats to Justin Bejcek, who earned his Master of Science in Veterinary Public Health-Epidemiology and wrote his thesis on kissing bugs. We wish Justin the best as he continues on his next steps toward medical school while finishing up his last publication. Celebratory Indian lunch!


Texas Master Naturalists

Posted July 18, 2018

Texas Master Naturalists- Brazos County Chapter- July meeting

Speaker: Sarah A. Hamer – Director of Schubot Exotic Bird Health Center, Associate Professor of Epidemiology, Associate Wildlife Biologist

Title: Citizen science, kissing bugs, and Chagas disease at the human-wildlife-domestic animal interface in the Southern United States

Date: Thursday, July 19, 2018
Location: Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History (BVMNH) 3232 Briarcrest Drive, Bryan, TX 77802
Start Time: 6:30 pm; End Time: 7:30 pm

FREE and open to the public, plenty of parking at the BVMNH.

Grackle week

Posted July 13, 2018

Austin is celebrating Grackle Week with a series of articles, podcasts, videos, interviews all about grackles.  Our team's grackle work was featured in the article called 'Can Grackles make you sick?  Find out what is lurking inside the birds'.  Given the high density of these invasive birds in the well-lit urban areas, our students investigated selected zoonotic pathogens (Salmonella, West NIle Virus, blood parasites, etc) that infect the birds and may also infect people.


Posted July 10, 2018

Radio-transmitters used for tracking movement of blood-sucking vectors for the first time!  New pilot study discovering cryptic kissing bug habitats published in Journal of Medical Entomology, and featured in Smithsonian Magazine, Entomology Today, TAMU Ento Dept. and more.

Novel Poxvirus

Posted July 10, 2018

Carolyn described a novel poxvirus in Texas rodents, published in EID. Collaborators included mammalogists, virologists at the CDC poxvirus branch, pathologists, and veterinarians. Selected for a press summary by the journal; Covered by Live Science, Fox News.  Carolyn also recorded a Podcast on the findings for the Emerging Infectious Disease journal- listen in for 13 minutes of good info!

Congrats Julia and Elise

Posted July 09, 2018

Congrats to DVM student researchers Elise and Julia for earning the veterinary public health scholarships! 
Brigadier General Charles V.L. Elia '43 & LTC Virginia Porter Elia Endowed Scholarship (Elise)
Brigadier General Charles V.L. Elia '43 Endowed Scholarship (Julia)

Congrats Sujata!

Posted June 26, 2018

Sujata was selected for one of four TAMU Division of Research / Postdoctoral Association Travel Awards to support her fall participation in the American Soceity of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene conference. Congrats!

Kissing Bug Field Guide

Posted June 25, 2018

Kissing_Bug_Chagas_Guide-062218New 'Kissing Bug Field Guide', a product of the CDC-funded Chagas Task Force, is now available!

New Summer papers

Posted June 21, 2018

First paper from our triatomine colony is published in full, documenting unique periods of diurnal activity between species, with implications for parasite transmission risk. Congrats Jillian and team!  Also our invited mini-review of arthropod vector citizen science programs is out!

CVM today Schubot

Posted May 31, 2018

CVM Today Magazine Spring 2018 covered the new directorship of the Schubot Exotic Bird Health Center, pages 20-23.

Amblyomma article

Posted May 20, 2018

m_coverCollaborative review article with investigators from Army Public Health Center, CDC, Public Health Agency of Canada, and academia shows lonestar ticks are not vectors of the Lyme disease pathogen.  Featured on journal cover, TickEncounter, Science Daily, Entomology Today.


Posted May 13, 2018

New summer students: Welcome to veterinary students Andy Castro and Skye Sneed who have been accepted to the Veterinary Medical Summer Research Training Program (VMSRTP)! Looking forward to working on canine Chagas disease (Andy) and avian conservation (Skye) together.  Welcome to undergraduates Hannah Meyers of Kalamazoo College (Michigan) who will complete her Senior Individualized Project here, and to Nidhi Patel of TAMU.

ACLAM grant

Posted May 12, 2018

New funds awarded from American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine will allow us to grow our eco-epidemiology investigations of transmission of the Chagas disease parasite in and around biomedical research facilities where nonhuman primates are becoming naturally exposed.

Cover of Journal of Insect Science

Posted May 07, 2018

JISESA_18_3_Cover_OFC_reducedCongrats Justin, Rachel, photographer Gabe, and the resin-vector team!  Our new article details protocols for clear resin casting of arthropod vectors to create useful teaching tools for medical, veterinary, and entomology groups, and was selected to be featured on the cover of Journal of Insect Science!  The work was also the subject of the Entomology Today Blog by Entomological Society of America, and covered in a Press Release by the Entomology Department. 

Citizen Science website is translated to Spanish

Posted May 02, 2018

Kissing bug season is once again upon us! If you encounter kissing bugs, our lab accepts safely-collected bugs for identification, parasite testing, and other research purposes.  Learn more about our citizen science program (and submit bug photos) at our citizen science website, now also fully translated to Spanish.


Posted March 07, 2018

Alyssa passed her written/oral preliminary exams and is now a PhD Candidate!  Justin passed his defense of his thesis (MS-Veterinary Public Health-Epidemiology) and will graduate in May!  Congrats on these graduate school milestones.

CVM Grad Grants

Posted February 20, 2018

Congrats to Italo and Alyssa for having their internal CVM research proposals funded! Italo will explore the safety of veterinary blood donor supply with resepct to selected infectious diseases.  Alyssa will explore genetic variation of the Chagas parasite across diverse vector and clinical samples.

Impact Awards

Posted January 23, 2018

Congrats to grad students for receiving awards at last week's Graduate Student Symposium Banquet!  Italo Zecca received 2nd place for his Flash Talk on opossums and feral cats as reservoirs for the Chagas disease parasite.  Alyssa Meyers received 3rd place High Impact Achievement award for her first author publication in PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases.  Justin Bejcek received a High Impact Achievement award for his role as PI in a grant from Texas EcoLab to assess tick-borne disease risk on private ranchlands.  All awards include a certificate and money.



Posted November 30, 2017

We are thrilled to be awarded funding from American Kennel Club- Canine Health Foundation (Oak Grant) for canine Chagas disease research 2018-2020!

Press release- DHS dogs

Posted October 26, 2017

Press release on the research of Alyssa et al. to document exposure to the Chagas disease parasite in government working dogs along the US-Mexico border, recently published in PLoS NTD.

Congrats, Italo!

Posted October 26, 2017

Italo was awarded a $1000 travel grant from the CVM Grad Student Organization to support his participation in the upcoming Tropical Medicine and Hygiene meetings!


Posted October 23, 2017

Congrats Jillian and the triatomine colony crew for being awarded a National Center for Veterinary Parasitology grant in support of triatomine behavior and transmission experiments!

CVM Today

Posted October 23, 2017

Our Citizen Science kissing bug program is featured in the Fall 2017 CVM Today magazine, pages 12-13.



Posted October 15, 2017

Sarah is appointed as the Richard Schubot Endowed Chair and Center Director.

Welcome Dr. Balasubramanian

Posted September 04, 2017

Welcome to new Associate Research Scientist Dr. Sujata Balasubramanian!


Posted September 04, 2017

Effective September 1 2017, Sarah is now an Associate Professor with tenure!

Working dogs

Posted August 21, 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 were 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.


Posted August 10, 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!


Posted July 14, 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. Carolyn was also selected to given an oral presentation in the ACME trainee symposium.


Posted June 26, 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.

3000 public submissions!

Posted June 26, 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.

Carolyn defends

Posted June 26, 2017

Congrats to Dr. Hodo on a successful PhD defense and dissertation completion.

Welcome Jillian

Posted May 31, 2017

Welcome to Dr. Jillian Wormington as our newest postdoctoral associate!

Congrats Valery!

Posted May 30, 2017

Congrats to Valery and her team of co-authors (Rachel, Graham, Carolyn, Erin) for tying for first-place poster award for recent canine Chagas disease poster at the Diseases in Nature meeting in Irving, TX!

CVM Convocation

Posted April 24, 2017

In the Spring 2017 CVM Convocation Ceremony, Carolyn Hodo was awarded the Outstanding PhD Student Award, and Sarah Hamer was awarded the Richard H. Davis Teaching Award.

Gabe's grants

Posted April 10, 2017

Our collaborator Gabe Hamer is in the Ento news... Hamer Receives $3.5 Million to Study Mosquito-Borne Viruses

WDA scholarship

Posted April 07, 2017

Congrats to Dr. Carolyn Hodo for being selected as a 2017 Wildlife Disease Association Student Scholarship recipient. Carolyn wlll receive her $2000 award at the WDA meeting in Chiapas, Mexico, later this summer.

OGAPS Distinguished Grad

Posted April 07, 2017

Congrats to Dr. Rachel Curtis-Robles for being selected as one of the 2017 Association of Former Students Distinguished Graduate Students in the 'Excellence in Research-Doctoral' category.  Rachel will be honored with a luncheon and reception at the Stark Gallery and she will receive a plaque and watch.

Impact awards

Posted March 28, 2017

PhD students earned CVM High Impact Achievement Awards- Italo (first author paper), Carolyn (first author paper), Rachel (small grant) and Alyssa (large grant).

Lisa raise

Posted March 28, 2017

Congrats on the Raise to our Research Associate Lisa!


Posted March 15, 2017

Alyssa and Carolyn received 'CVM Advanced Developmental Training Grants' to support their participation in the Gordon Conference on Tropical Infectious Disease this week in Galveston, TX, where they will each present a research poster.

Crane clade

Posted March 04, 2017

New molecular description of a blood parasite associated with whooping cranes- perhaps a novel genus in Hemosporida?! (Mol Phylogenet Evol)

Chagas papers

Posted March 04, 2017

Two new Chagas papers: We examined infection of humans and their pet dogs at the same time in high risk communities along the TX-Mexico border (Trop Med), and we found high prevalence of infection working dogs suggesting multi-dog kennels are high risk environments (PLoS NTD).


Crane paper

Posted December 12, 2016

New conservation medicine publication in support of the surrogate species approach for disease studies of endangered species. Open access in Parasitology.  Congrats, miranda! Haemosporida prevalence and diversity are similar in endangered wild whooping cranes (Grus americana) and sympatric sandhill cranes (Grus canadensis).

Travel award

Posted December 09, 2016

Congrats to Alyssa Meyers for being selected for a $1000 CVM Grad Student Assocaition travel award in support of her recent trip to Atlanta for the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene meeting.  Alyssa presented her poster 'Prevalence and risk factors of Trypanosoma cruzi infections in working dogs along the Texas-Mexico border'.

More One Health Travel Awards

Posted November 29, 2016

Carolyn Hodo and Italo Zecca were awarded $500 One Health Travel Awards!  Italo used his award to attend the American Public Health Association meeting in Denver, CO, where he presented his poster on Chagas disease surveillance in communities along the TX-Mexico border.  Carolyn will use her award to attend the AAVP meeting in New Orleans next month to give oral presentaiton on Chagas pathology in coyotes and poster presentation on a novel rodent poxvirus.

One Health Travel Awards

Posted November 16, 2016

Justin Bejcek and Rachel Curtis-Robles were awarded $750 One Health Travel Awards!  Justin used his award to attend the International Congress of Entomology in Orlando, FL, where he presented his poster to help non-experts identify kissing bug vectors from many common look-alike, non-vector species.  Rachel used her award to attend the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene Conference in Atlanta, GA, where she participated in the Young Investigator Competition with her work on spatio-temporal patterns of triatomines in the southern US.

Escape Room

Posted September 21, 2016

Publication Celebration/Lab Retreat on Friday!  Gabe's team vs. Sarah's team in the Escape Rooms- one hour to make our way out.


Posted August 31, 2016

Recently accepted papers include Carolyn's work on bat trypanosomes (Acta Tropica) and Rattus rattus and Trypanosoma cruzi at a nonhuman primate faciltiy (Journal of the Am. Association of Lab Animal Science); our collaborative work with Dr. Light's lab to study how invasive fire ants may alter tick-borne disease risk (Biology Letters); quantitative synthesis of ticks on birds across North America (Oecologia); and Lisa and Gabe's work on stable isotopes to track mosquitoes in Tanzania (PLoS ONE).

Rachel defends

Posted August 31, 2016

Rachel successfully defended her dissertation in early August!

Adios Miranda

Posted August 23, 2016

Miranda Bertram DVM PhD has been 'hooded' at the graduation ceremony on August 12 and is off for her postdoctoral position at the USDA Plum Island Disease Research Center.  She will work on analytical epidemiology of endemic Foot and Mouth Disease Virus.

Welcome Joey

Posted August 23, 2016

Born on June 1 2016: Welcome to the newest lab member Johanna Jane Hamer!  Johanna enjoyed her first research trip in July to study human and dog populations in the colonias.

AAVP Award

Posted May 31, 2016

Congrats to Rachel on being chosen as the American Association of Veterinary Parasitologists – Merck Outstanding Graduate Student for 2016.  Rachel will give a student keynote address at the National AAVP meeting this summer, and received an engraved plaque and monetary award!

Diversity Fellowshio

Posted May 05, 2016

Congrats to Italo for earning the 3-year CVM Graduate Diversity Fellowship!  This funding package will support him through his PhD studies.

Publication Celebration!

Posted April 19, 2016

Publication Celebration this Thursday!  Indian Lunch Feast to celebrate Rachel's new wildlife Chagas disease paper in International Journal of Parasitology: Parasites and Wildlife, and Matt's new paper in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene!

Congrats to lab members

Posted April 11, 2016

Lots of congrats! Miranda successfully defended her dissertation on whooping crane parasites in March.  Jennifer and Chelsea successfully defended their non-thesis vet public health projects on Salmonella in feedlots and feral hog ticks, respectively.  Finally, Bhagath was accepted into a doctoral program at the TAMU College of Medicine.  What a team!!

AAVMC Chagas Case study

Posted February 21, 2016

Dr. Ashley Saunders led a team including Dr. Sarah Hamer, Dr. Ann Millard, Trevor, Rachel, and others in a Chagas dissease case study that was selected for publication by the American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges.

High Impact

Posted January 29, 2016

Congrats to Alyssa for being selected as a recipient of a 2015 CVM High Impact Award- Large Grant Categoty at last night's award banquet.  This is in recognition of her NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, and she will receive a cash prize!

Congrats, Miranda

Posted January 17, 2016

Miranda was just selected as the to receive the 2015 CVM Outstanding Graduate Student Scholarship for $1,500!  This scholarship is based on publications, presentations, grant-writing, GPA, extracurricular work, and other honors.


Chagas in the media

Posted November 20, 2015

NBC News from Dallas/Fort Worth toured our lab and met with Chagas researchers across the state- you can see their four-night investigation here: human disease, canine disease, blood donations, and look-alike insects. Our Chagas program is also featured in Dallas Morning News, The New Yorker and CNN.


Posted November 12, 2015

An 8 minuted documentary about PhD student Rachel Curtis-Robles and her research was produced by UT gradate student film maker R. Bardin.  The documentary is called Nocturne and is viewable at the link.

Publication Celebration!

Posted November 11, 2015

Gabe and Sarah's labs will celebrate recent student/postdoc/research associate publications on Friday with lots of Indian food!  Congrats for recent papers accepted: Rachel/Lisa (PLoS Negl Trop Dis), Juliette/Rachel (J Wildl Dis), Lisa (Appl Environ Microbiol), Matt (Parasitol).

Congrats Rachel

Posted October 14, 2015

Doctoral student Rachel Curtis-Robles is this year’s recipient of the James Gus Foyle Memorial Scholarship from the Texas Mosquito Control Association.  Congratulations, Rachel!

Migratory ticks!

Posted October 13, 2015

Our work on the annual importation of exotic ticks and microbes with Neotropical migratory birds is published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, with some popular press write ups, too! (Texas Standard, The Nature Conservancy, Texas A&M Today, US News & World Reports, Texas Tribune)

Lisa's promotion

Posted September 22, 2015

Congrats and gratitude to Lisa- she was just promoted from Research Assistant to Research Associate!


Posted September 14, 2015

Welcome new PhD students Alyssa Meyers (NSF Graduate Research Fellow) and Italo Zecca MPH!

Interview with Miranda

Posted August 11, 2015

Dr. Miranda was interviewed by The Nature Conservancy about her crane research.  Best first line ever!

Our work at dog kennels is featured on the front page of the Uvalde News!

Posted July 04, 2015

Our work at dog kennels is featured on the front page of the Uvalde News!

Cool Green Science Blog

Posted June 09, 2015

Rachel's Citizen Science kissing bug program is featured in 'Citizen Science Tuesday' blog of The Nature Conservancy.  It is kissing bug season... please submit your bugs here!

Congrats Katlyn!

Posted June 07, 2015

Congrats on your earning your non thesis Master of Science degree in Veterinary Public Health, Katlyn! Best wishes for vet school this fall.

Mad Island

Posted May 15, 2015

The Nature Conservancy featured some of our migratory bird, tick, and pathogen research in their Cool Green Science Blog.  Here, you can read about the hitchhikers across the Gulf of Mexico.


Posted May 13, 2015

Congrats Miranda on being one of 5 students (of 41 applicants) chosen to receive a 2015 Mewaldt-King Student Research Award fro the Cooper Ornithological Society.  This award is in support of efforts to characterize the hemoparasite populations in sandhill and whooping cranes.


Posted May 13, 2015

We seek a postdoc to join our team to lead some Chagas disease ecology work.  Please see the job announcement in the 'Opportunities' tab and share with qualified individuals.  Thanks!

Whooping Crane Paper

Posted April 21, 2015

Congrats Miranda on the acceptance of your first paper in PLoS ONE: Coccidian parasites and conservation implications for the endangered whooping crane (Grus americana)!

Grants (1)

Posted April 14, 2015

The American Association of Zoo Vets has awarded our team a 2015 Wild Animal Health Fund grant to examine Chagas disease ecology at a central Texas zoological collection.


Posted April 14, 2015

The National Center for Veterinary Parasitology has awarded our team a small grant to pursue analyses of Trypanosoma cruzi strains in Texas.

Outstanding PhD Student

Posted April 14, 2015

Congrats to Rachel Curtis-Robles for being named the 2015 CVM Outstanding PhD Student!

New publications

Posted April 14, 2015

New publications in Spring 2015 include Lisa's collaborative work on pathogens in lone star ticks (Journal of Clinical Microbiology), Jaime's ecological work on ticks and rodents (Southeastern Naturalist), and Sarah's collaborative work on a tick systems simulation model (Journal of Vector Ecology).

Field and Lab Techniques in Vector-borne Disease Ecology Class

Posted January 13, 2015

Sarah and Gabe’s new class ‘Field and Lab Techniques in Vector-borne Disease Ecology’ is underway. The group of 15 graduate and undergraduate students has already trapped birds, mammals, and ticks in the field. The class is supported in part by funds from the Montague-Center for Teaching Excellence award.

Welcome Nuray Aydin

Posted January 13, 2015

Welcome Nuray Aydin, new MS student in the Hamer Lab! Nuray is fully supported on a fellowship from the Turkish government.

Rachel Curtis-Robles lands a Texas EcoLab grant

Posted January 13, 2015

Rachel Curtis-Robles lands a Texas EcoLab grant and receives a CVM High Impact Award (and cash prize) in the Small Grant Category

Trevor Tenney receives CVM High Impact Award

Posted January 13, 2015

Trevor Tenney receives a CVM High Impact Award (and cash prize) in the First Author Publication Category for his paper resulting from his summer in the Veterinary Medical Summer Research Training Program

Miranda Bertram

Posted January 13, 2015

Miranda Bertram earns 3rd place in the graduate student platform presentation competition at the 2015 CVM Graduate Student and Postdoctoral Research Symposium.


Fall 2014

Posted October 12, 2014

  • Congrats to Andrew and Gabe for their new PLoS NTD publication on predictive modelling of Rift Valley fever virus!  And congrats on Andrew's successful MS defense.
  • Woo-Hoo! Carolyn is now a Diplomat of the American College of Veterinary Pathologists! Congrats on passing board exams AND on being awarded PhD funding though the NIH T32 Program 'Comparative Biomedical Research Training for Veterinarians'.
  • Sarah was named the 2014-2015 Center for Teaching Excellence - Montague Scholar for the College of Veterinary Medicine.  You can read more about the award here.
  • Our proposal for the One Health Grand Challenge has been funded! Learn more with the info video in the Global Health and Security thematic area.
  • Our New Kissing Bug Citizen Science Website is Launched!

    The TAMU College of Veterinary Medicine and Department of Entomology have a collaborative Citizen Science Program to learn about kissing bug and Chagas disease risk in the state. The team is interested in receiving safely-collected kissing bugs encountered by the public across the state.  Please visit and share the new project website to support the citizen science program.  Among the features of the website is an interactive map, so readers can see in real-time areas of the state from which kissing bugs have been submitted by the public.   Also, there is a contact form that allows readers to upload some encounter information and photos of suspect kissing bugs and for identification prior to submission to the research team for diagnostic testing for the Trypanosoma cruzi parasite.

Late Summer 2014

Posted October 12, 2014

  • Congrats to Trevor, Rachel and the Chagas team for our first Chagas publication, which occurred in Emerging Infectious Diseases in the August issue.  Here are some of the media articles:
  • Congrats to Emily for earning 2nd place for her research presentation at the TAMU Entomology Student Research Forum!
  • Check out the new AVMA Podcast on Chagas Disease!
  • Congrats for an awesome TAMU representation at the 59th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Veterinary Parasitologists in Denver, Colorado, in late July 2014.
    • Honorable Mention: Miranda Bertram DVM
      Presentation: Detection and characterization of Haemosporidia in Whooping cranes and Sandhill cranes (Miranda Bertram, Gabriel L Hamer, Barry K Hartup, Sarah A Hamer)
    • First Place: Rachel Curtis
      Presentation: Diversity of Trypanosoma cruzi strain types in vector and host populations throughout Texas (Rachel Curtis, Gabriel Hamer, Sarah Hamer, Karen Snowden, Edward J Wozniak)

June 2014

Posted June 28, 2014

  • Jamie defended his MS thesis on Friday the 13th entitled Ecology of a Tick-Rodent-Mammal community in east-central TX.  Congrats Jaime!  Now its time to publish before med school.IMG_3847
  • Sarah and Gabe presented at the EEID meeting in Colorado, and spent a couple days in the Rocky Mountains.
  • Karen moved in to officially join Gabe's lab as a PhD student. Welcome Karen!
  • Andrew is in Indonesia hunting arboviruses!
  • Carolyn completed her anatomic pathology residency, congrats!
  • Sarah's new paper on the center of origin of tick-borne zoonoses in the Midwest has been published in Infection, Genetics, and Evolution.
  • Rachel, Lisa, Karen, Gabe, and Sarah participated in the Diseases in Nature meeting in Irving, TX.  Lots of great vector-borne disease work!IMG_3951

May 2014

Posted June 28, 2014

  • We enjoyed a visit and presentation on Chagas disease from Dr. Sofia Ocana Mayorga, Post-doctoral fellow at the Tropical Disease Institute, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Ohio University.
  • Sarah presented on canine Chagas disease at the 'Chagas Disease Symposium' at the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute. The event was hosted by the South Texans' Property Rights Association.

April 2014

Posted April 03, 2014

  • For the second year, we are again collaborating with the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center and the Mad Island Bird Banding Crew to study exotic ticks on birds.  Read more about it at the new Smithsonian blog post here.
  • Jaime gave a great Vector Biology seminar presentation entitled: Small rodent species as reservoirs for tick-borne pathogens in East-Central Texas
  • Rachel was awarded a travel grant from the College of Veterinary Medicine Graduate Student Association to attend this summer's AAVP conference; congrats!
  • Sarah and her team's 'One Health' proposal was selected as one of four to move forward for the TAMU 'Grand Challenge'.  Lets hope for some funding soon so we can pursue our pilot project along the US-Mexico border!
  • Sarah was selected for the 'Outstanding Young Faculty Research Award' within the TAMU College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Science.  She was unable to attend the Spring Convocation Ceremony because she was giving birth to baby Tabitha!Hamer_FacultyAward
  • WELCOME to the newest lab member TABITHA!  She attended her first lab meeting at 6 days old, and her first field work experience (mammal trapping with the epidemiology class and Jaime) at 7 days old.

March 2014

Posted March 31, 2014

  • Congrats to Andrew for being selected for the NSF GROW (Graduate Research Opportunities Worldwide) with USAID program.  Andrew will be spending the summer in Indonesia to hunt emerging mosquito-borne arboviruses!
  • Rachel was awarded the #1 Student Poster Award at the 2014 American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges conference in March in Alexandria, VA!  Rachel's poster was entitled 'Merging ecology and epidemiology to reduce the burden of human and canine Chagas disease: a One Health approach'.  The poster was a great contribution to this year's meeting, which had the theme of One Health in Veterinary Medical Education.  We are thrilled that Texas A&M University was well represented at this year's conference, and that Dean Green was present for Rachel's presentation.
    Photo: Left to right: Dean Eleanor Green, Rachel Curtis, Assistant Dean Mike Chaddock, and Merrideth Holub.
  • The Hamer Labs were well represented at this year's Ecological Integration Symposium, hosted by the Interdisciplinary Program in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. Rachel, Andrew, Jaime, and Emily all delivered awesome oral presentations, and Adrian Castellanos (Jessica Light's Lab) was awarded yet another #1 Graduate Poster Presentation Award for his awesome poster on the fire ant - tick - pathogen project.  Way to go, team!!
  • DVM Summer Research Student Trevor Tenney (summer 2013) had his manuscript on canine Chagas disease accepted for publication in Emerging Infectious Diseases!  Congrats to Trevor and coauthors Rachel, Dr. Snowden, and Sarah for our lab's first peer-reviewed Chagas publication, hopefully followed by many more.
  • Congrats to Erica for being accepted to TAMU Vet School!  We're glad you'll be around... hopefully you can keep working with us!
  • Emily delivered an awesome oral presentation to the Vector Biology group entitled 'Using stable isotopes as a marker for mosquito movement'.  Many members of Gabe and Sarah's labs were present to cheer her on! 

February 2014

Posted February 23, 2014

  • Congrats to Jaime for making his decision to start med school at UT-Southwestern, after multiple offers!
  • Congrats to Lowell for making his decision to start vet school at Western University in California, after multiple offers!
  • Adrian Castellanos, PhD student in Dr. Jessica Light's Lab in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences, has been leading our collaborative fire ant-tick research project.  He was just awarded the Vernon Bailey Award for best poster presentation in classical mammalogy at the 2014 Texas Society of Mammalogists Annual Meeting in Junction, Texas, February 14 2014.  Way to go, Adrian!

photo 2photo 3

January 2014

Posted February 14, 2014

  • Miranda Bertram and Rachel Curtis were honored at the 2014 CVM Graduate Research Symposium with High Impact Awards.  These awards are made by the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, and are given to graduate students for obtaining research grants or for first-authored publications.  Miranda received an award in the 'Small Grant' category for receiving an AAZV grant. Rachel received an award in the 'Large Grant' category for receiving the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship.  Rachel also received an award for second place graduate student platform presentation for her work on Chagas disease eco-epidemiology.  Congrats to all!!12262576944_505ac1fb07_b
  • Rachel was awarded a $5000 CVM Graduate Student Research Grant!  This will support new efforts for culture-based diagnostics of the Chagas disease parasite this summer. Way to go!!


December 2013

Posted December 10, 2013

  • Congrats to Drs. Miranda and Carolyn for finishing the BCS half marathon on a very chilly morning!

November 2013

Posted November 26, 2013

  • Sarah was invited to give a seminar in the Department of Entomology at University of Illinois by her colleague Brian Allan.  Great couple of days at my old stomping grounds!
  • Congrats to Jaime Rodriguez, Rachel Curtis, Emily Boothe, and Andrew Golnar for their stellar poster presentations at this years Entomology Society of America Conference in Austin.  Gabe and Sarah gave invited seminars. That's Jaime with Yukie Miyamoto of Japan, wife of Kenji Miyamoto, the entomologist for which the pathogen Jaime studies was named (Borrelia miyamotoi).


  • Congrats to Carolyn Hodo for her poster AND oral presentations at the American Association of Veterinary Pathologists meeting in Montreal.
  • Rachel and Andrew represented the Hamer Labs with oral presentations in the lunchtime Vector Biology Seminar Series. Great work! (And yummy homemade treats, Rachel!)
  • Jaime and Lowell are doing awesome with med and vet school interviews all over the place!
  • Jaime wrapped up his very last field trapping excursion for his MS program!  (we processed critters in the bathroom due to all the rain outside!)
  • Its Crane Season again!  Miranda lead an awesome team for Sandhill necropsies in the Panhandle.  The whoopers are making their way back to Aransas.
  • Adrian holds the new record for capture success. He captured 73 small mammals using 240 traps (>30% success) at the Attwater Prairie Chicken Refuge and processed them all in one day. And then claimed it was too wet to drag sample for ticks.

October 2013

Posted November 26, 2013

  • The Nostril Tick paper is published in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene!  Thanks to Senior Author (and the parasitized man himself) Dr. Tony Goldberg, the media is having fun with this paper.  Check out selected media coverage below.  The ultimate highlight?  This news story made it onto the NPR quiz show 'Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me!' (Lightening Fill in the Blank, 4:30 into the segment;
    • Houston Chronicle:
    • Science:
    • National Geographic:
    • Public Radio International:
  • Sarah had the honor of participating in the 2013 Leadership Institute of The Wildlife Society. Ten early career wildlfie professionals from across the country were selected for leadership training. We participatied in activities over the past four months, and our experience culminated with face-to-face training at the 2013 TWS meeting in Milwaukee.

September 2013

Posted October 10, 2013

  • Congrats to Emily from Gabe's lab for winning the James Gus Foyle Memorial Scholarship from the TX Mosquito Control Association!

August 2013

Posted October 10, 2013

  • Our labs were so fortunate to have visiting high school research Adam Curtis for a full month!  Hopefully the fishing trip to the gulf coast made Adam's time in Texas worth it.  We hope you come back to learn more with us next summer!IMG_2276
  • Sarah headed to the 13th International Conference on Lyme Borreliosis and Other Tick-borne Pathogens on the Harvard Medical Campus in Boston.  She presented a poster on Ehrlichia muris ecology, and was able to hang out with some of the original Tick Chicks!10030336195_3699b543b0_o10030489236_4852ea8417_o
  • Gabe and Sarah and our students enjoyed another fun, yet relatively unproductive morning of mist netting!  Check out our FLICKR site for photos.  Also, we were very happy that Lynn David Cole of Texas Review Stars showed up to see the birds.  He followed up with a visit to campus to interview Sarah, you can see it here: 
  • We had a great summer with visiting summer researchers Katlin, Trevor, Raven, Lee, and Katelyn.  Thanks for all your hard work!10030415443_0990d02b91_o10030283424_98e1c1ac72_o

July 2013

Posted July 28, 2013

  • Mosquito Crew is taking over College Station, with Emily in the lead.IMG_2016
  • Congrats to Jaime Rodriguez for being awarded the Willie May Harris Fellowship for Outstanding Graduating Teaching Assistant from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.  Jaime was nominated by Dr. Jessica Light based on his teaching in the mammalogy class.  Although this award provides funding so that Jaime will not need to teach this fall, he's going to teach anyways, because he loves it so much.  We are also thrilled that Jaime already has 3 med school interviews lined up this summer!
  • Good news for internal funding this month:
    • Texas AgriLife has funded our research to explore interactions among invasive fire ants, ticks, tick-borne pathogens, and small mammals!  Dr. Jessica Light lead this proposal, with Sarah, Gabe, and other collaborators from WFSC and ENTO on board.
    • We just learned that we have been awarded a seed grant for our proposal to explore Chagas disease ecology and epidemiology across a transnational gradient. This funding is from the Texas A&M University-CONACYT: Collaborative Research Grant Program.  We are so excited to build new collaborations with investigators from Instituto Politécnico Nacional in Mexico.
  • Rachel, Miranda, Gabe, and Sarah all presented at the American Association of Veterinary Parasitologists meeting in Chicago.  Great Job, Miranda and Rachel, on your first national oral presentations of your dissertation research!  And a big congrats to Rachel for being awarded the #1 Student Presentation Award!  You can read more here about this honor on the VIBS website.Rachel AAVP award

June 2013

Posted July 28, 2013

  • Our kissing bug 'Citizen Science Initiative' is in full force!  We are receiving public submissions of bugs from across Texas and the southern US to learn more about geographic distribution of species, vector phenology, parasite infection prevalence and genetic strain types.  Many bugs originate in dog kennel environments.  If you have bugs you'd like to submit to our lab for research purposes, please check out the 'Projects' tab to the right and send an email to:

Submission photo 1Submission photo 2Submission photo 3


  • Rachel heads to Ecuador for 1 month of intensive training in Chagas Disease field and laboratory work and community development in an endemic area.  Rachel's trip is supported in part by CVM International Studies and CVM Advanced Training competitive funding programs. We look forward to all she will learn in an endemic area of disease transmission, to enhance our research here in Texas where the diseases is emerging.
  • Welcome to Raven Frady (Washington) and Lee Vang (Minnesota), who have been accepted to work with Dr. Gabe Hamer in the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program through the Department of Entomology.
  • We are thrilled that our grant proposal submitted for funding from the Texas Agrilife Research/Texas Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Lab Seed Grant Program has been funded!  The title of our proposal is: "Genetic diversity of the Chagas disease parasite in natural populations of vectors, wildlife, and domestic dogs: implications for public health protection"
  • Welcome to Katelyn Wagner from Michigan State University.  Katelyn was awarded the Dr. Marvin Hensley Endowed Scholarship Fund in Zoology to support her undergraduate research in our lab.  Katelyn will lead our new research direction in the ecology of interactions among invasive fire ants, ticks, small mammals, and tick-borne disease, in collaboration with Dr. Jessica Light.  Our fieldwork will start at the Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge!IMG_2479IMG_3975
  • Our labs had great representation at this year's Diseases in Nature conference in Houston (formally known as the James Steele Diseases in Nature Transmissible to Man conference).  We were especially thrilled for our interactions with Dr. James Steele, and for the keynote from Dr. Peter Hotez.  Presentations included collaborative research by: Miranda Bertram, Carolyn Hodo, Rachel Curtis, Jaime Rodriguez, Sarah Hamer, Gabe Hamer, Lisa Auckland, and Alex Weghorst.

May 2013

Posted May 05, 2013

  • Operation Migratory Bird Tick is underway!  For a short time period of the spring migration, we've teamed up with bird banders from the Smithsonian Institute who run an awesome mist netting operation on Mad Island, TX Gulf Coast.  We look forward to learning more about the ticks brought in with the migrants!  The Smithsonian crew keeps a weekly blog.  You can read to learn more about their recent 'Fallout' experience as well as our tick collections:
  • Congrats to summer Medical Science Training Program student Trevor Tenney.  Trevor was awarded the prestigious F. Edward Hebert Armed Forces Health Professions Scholarship and was sworn into to the Corps in a nice ceremony on campus. We look forward to working with you this summer!8709883781_ef3b76b808_b
  • Thanks for a great semester, Matthew and Tyler.  Matthew is off to start DVM training at Kansas State, and Tyler will finish his last year in the Forensics program before starting medical school.
  • Sarah wrapped up her first semester teaching VIBS 413 Epidemiology... eager to see the student reviews and ways to improve next year.
  • Carolyn heads to University of Texas-El Paso to learn culture and metacyclogenesis techniques for Trypanosoma cruzi.  Thank you to Drs. Igor Almeida and Rosa Maldonado for hosting Carolyn.  This trip is supported in part by a CVM Advanced Training competitive funding proposal.

April 2013

Posted April 07, 2013

  • Congrats to Rachel Curtis, CVM Merit Fellow, on being awarded the prestigious NSF Graduate Research Fellowship to support her One Health research! Of over 13,000 applicants, 2,000 were selected for this award, which provides $30,000 per year in stipend plus a tuition waiver for 3 years.  This award will support Rachel as she studies the ecology and epidemiology of Chagas disease in the southern United States.  Rachel was among 9 TAMU students across campus to receive this award.
  • The great news continues! Andrew Golnar, PhD student with Dr. Gabe Hamer (Department of Entomology) was also awarded an NSF Fellowship!  We are close collaborators with Andrew, Gabe, and the Ento Lab, and look forward to all the great research ahead.  Andrew and Gabe will explore parasite co-infections in the West Nile virus system.8300357038_7512cb76c2_b(1)

Photo: Rachel Curtis (middle, 2013 NSF Fellowship recipient) collects samples from wild birds with her lab mates Miranda Curtis DVM (left; CVM Merit Fellow) and Andrew Golnar (right; PhD student in Entomology; also a 2013 NSF Fellowship recipient).

  • Congrats to Miranda Bertram, CVM Merit Fellow, on being awarded a $10,000 research grant from the American Association of Zoological Veterinarians to support her whooping crane research!  This grant is part of the 'Zoological Medicine and Wildlife Health' research program of AAZV and will allow Miranda to develop a novel molecular typing system for helminths associated with this endangered species.  Way to go!!
Miranda_crew_AransasPhoto: Miranda Bertram (middle right) and the whooping crane scat collection crew poses atop the observation tower at Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, where a majority of whooping cranes overwinter.  With Miranda are undergraduate researchers Tyler Smith (left) and Matthew Olcha (middle left) and Entomology PhD student Andrew Golnar (right).

March 2013

Posted March 03, 2013

  • Sarah and Gabe both presented at the Southwestern Entomological Society conference in Las Cruces, NM.  Their road trip also included picking up some Rocky Mountain sandhill cranes for research.
  • A press article featuring Rachel Curtis' work and solicitation of kissing bugs has just been published in the IMG_2117AgriLife News called 'Never Kiss a Kissing Bug'
  • Many local newspapers across the state picked up the press release, including The Eagle (local newspaper in Bryan/College Station), which ran an article on March 25 2013 including a great photo of Rachel holding a kissing bug in the lab.
  • Congrats to Emily Boothe, undergrad researcher working with Gabe in Entomology... Emily was just accepted to the Master of Science program in Entomology.  Emily will officially enroll in the fall, but her first field season will be this summer working on mosquito stable isotope mark recapture studies!
  • Congrats to undergraduate researcher Matthew Olcha!  After being accepted at 4 vet schools (and on the wait list for an additional school), Matthew made his decision to accept his offer at Kansas State!  We are so proud of you!
  • Miranda wrapped up her first field season late this month with an final 15 or so fecal samples collected from the refuge.  Now its time to plunge in to molecular parasite ID, crane microsatellite analysis, and more!IMG_3856

February 2013

Posted February 12, 2013

  • Congrats Rachel Curtis on being awarded travel funding from CVM International Programs office to support upcoming summer training in Ecuador!  We look forward to all the new knowledge and skills you'll gain in the area of Chagas disease!
  • Congrats Lisa Auckland and Frida Cano on completing the Ehrlichia muris dataset leading to submission of an abstract on the research for a conference this summer!
  • The Hamer Lab enjoyed a visit by Jennifer Sidge, DVM/MS student from Michigan State University. Jen completed a veterinary externship training with us in Texas.  Highlights from Jen's trip included joining Rachel in the field for her first Chagas disease sampling trip, and joining Miranda, Tyler, Andrew, and Matthew in the field for crane fecal collections!

    Jen Sidge and the famous Aggie Ring
  • Sarah Hamer travelled to University of Richmond to give a seminar in the Department of Biology, meet with pre-vet students.  Thanks for the invitation, Dr. Jory Brinkerhoff!

January 2013

Posted January 12, 2013

  • Lab member Carolyn Hodo is awarded a TAMU CVM Postdoctoral Research Grant!  We are thrilled!  This grant will fund our new studies in Chagas disease ecology to explore the role of parasite coinfections on disease outcome using controlled transmission experiments!!
  • This semester, we welcome two undergraduate researchers to the lab!  Matthew Olcha is a senior in Biomedical Sciences, and just learned he will have to choose from at least a couple schools for DVM training in the fall! (Congrats, Matt!!). Tyler Smith is a sophomore in the Forensics program in the Entomology Department, and we hope he'll work with our lab for semesters and years to come!
  • Crane Research gets some media coverage! From the TAMU VetEpi website:
    'Epidemiology graduate student Miranda Bertram engages with hunters to address whooping crane conservation issues'

    'Miranda Bertram DVM, a PhD student in Dr. Sarah Hamer's lab, is interested in the pathogens and parasites that are associated with Whooping Cranes that may play a role in limiting population growth of this endangered species. To address her questions, Miranda conducts noninvasive fecal sampling of Whooping Cranes on their wintering grounds at Aransas National Wildlife Refuge.  Miranda also collects samples from Sandhill Cranes- a common species in Texas that may be a model for better understanding the risks to the Whoopers.'

    Houston Chronicle Article - January 16, 2013
  • Sarah gave a research seminar at the Health Science Center, TAMU College of Medicine.  Thanks for the invitation, Dr. Jenny Hyde!


December 2012

Posted December 12, 2012

Sarah's CDC Podcast is up and available on I-tunes!  See the Emerging Infectious Disease podcast called 'Wild Birds and the Urban Ecology of Ticks' (26 min 35 sec... its free!)

November 2012

Posted November 28, 2012

TAMU was lucky to have a week-long visit by disease ecologists/epidemiologists Drs. Jean Tsao (Michigan State University) and Graham Hickling (University of Tennessee).  Their visit included a couple of awesome seminars, tick-plucking at deer check stations, and useful feedback at our lab meeting!

Lab Meeting2Lab Meeting

Graham Hickling, Sarah Hamer, Lisa Aucklad, and Rachel Curtis


Miranda and Carolyn's crane research is well underway, with field research at Aransas National Wildlife Refuge and necropsies of hunter-harvested birds.



Jaime Rodriguez's tick research update: the mice have ticks this month (look closely for an engorged nymph)!


October 2012

Posted October 22, 2012

Miranda and Sarah represented the Epi and Public Health group at the TAMU Sigma Xi Undergraduate Research Expo. We met some promising undergraduates interested in disease ecology research. We promoted research-based career paths for those interested in DVM or MD training!

Undergrad ExpoUndergrad Expo2

Sarah's newly published article in Emerging Infectious Diseases on urban wild birds and tick-borne pathogens was selected as a 'Media Highlight':

Wild Birds and Urban Ecology of Ticks and Tick-borne Pathogens, Chicago, Illinois, USA, 2005-2010:
'No longer do you have to visit rural areas to find ticks; birds are flying them directly to you. When researchers sampled several thousand birds in Chicago, they found that some carried ticks; and some of these ticks carried the organism that spreads Lyme disease. Although the number of infected ticks on these birds was low, risk for their invading an area and spreading infection to humans cannot be ignored. If conditions are favorable, a few infected ticks can quickly multiply. Migratory birds also carried tick species only known to be established in central and South America.  Limited introduction and successful establishment of ticks and disease-carrying organisms pose a major health risk for humans, wildlife, and domestic animals in urban environments worldwide.'

September 2012

Posted September 12, 2012

New student Lowell Pigott begins his non-thesis MS in Veterinary Public Health-Epi with the lab!

New student Jaime Rodriguez (co-advised with Dr. Jessica Light, Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences) starts his MS program working on tick-borne disease ecology!

New student Frida Cano (Entomology undergraduate) begins her first research experience with us in the lab!

Our lab has been organizing mist netting outreach opportunities.  Participation from TAMU CVM, Epi Group, Wildlife, Entomology, Rio Brazos Audubon Society, TX Master Naturalists, and many others have made these monthly events great fun!  We even caught an eastern Screech Owl this month!

owlSeptember Banding

August 2012

Posted August 26, 2012

Please see the CVM Press Release here about Sarah's national Young Investigator Award for biomedical research (3rd place)!  The award was also covered in the VIBS Department Spotlight here!

July 2012

Posted July 12, 2012

New students Miranda Bertram and Rachel Curtis have accepted College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences Merit Fellowships to support their positions in the Hamer lab for their PhD programs! Both Miranda and Rachel have also been awarded Lechner scholarships. Congrats, and welcome Miranda and Rachel! More information about their awards can be found on the Vet Epi News website.

June 2012

Posted June 12, 2012

Mammal and avian wildlife field research is well underway, with monthly excursions at local field sites. Check out some of our field photos at the Wildlife and Fisheries Science flickr site organized by Dr. Light.

Sarah delivered an oral presentation on her research at the James Steele Diseases in Nature Transmissible to Man Conference in San Antonio, TX.

May 2012

Posted May 12, 2012

Sarah participated in a workshop and presented at the Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Disease Conference in Ann Arbor, MI.

Mammal and avian wildlife research permits at the federal, state, and university levels have been approved.  Sarah is now a Master Bird Bander!

EEID poster preview

Bird Banding

April 2012

Posted April 12, 2012

The new Hamer Lab is Biosafety Level 2-certified and ready for action, thanks to lots of help by new Research Assistant Lisa Auckland.  Welcome to the lab, Lisa!

Lab- before1

lab after

March 2012

Posted March 12, 2012

An announcement about Sarah's new faculty position at TAMU can be found on the Vet Epi news website.