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Dr. Allison (Allie) Gardner (Principal Investigator)

I am a medical entomologist and an Assistant Professor in the School of Biology and Ecology. I also am a faculty affiliate of the Ecology and Environmental Sciences program and a faculty fellow of the Senator George J. Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions. I enjoy mentoring graduate and undergraduate students on independent projects spanning a range of topics in infectious disease ecology and entomology, engaging in interdisciplinary research collaborations across the campus and the state, and promoting opportunities for students to explore new scientific problems and ecological settings through study abroad and international research experience. At UMaine, I teach General Entomology (BIO 326) and Emerging Infectious Diseases (BIO 431). I received my PhD in Entomology and MS degrees in Statistics and Pathobiology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and my BA from Williams College.

CURRENT LAB MEMBERS

  • Elissa Ballman is a Research Associate in the School of Biology and Ecology (MS in Entomology, University of California at Riverside). She is the lab manager and coordinator of the Maine Forest Tick Survey, a citizen science project that engages private woodland owners in tick surveillance throughout southern Maine.

  • Brandon Lieberthal is a Research Associate in the School of Biology and Ecology and a Lecturer in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics (PhD in Theoretical and Applied Mechanics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign). His research investigates the impacts of human movement on the spread of mosquito-borne viruses.

  • Lizzy Dabek is a PhD student in Biological Sciences. Her thesis research investigates microhabitat and microclimate impacts on blacklegged tick off-host survival and behavior in the context of climate change.

  • Griffin Dill is a PhD candidate in Ecology and Environmental Sciences and an IPM professional managing the tick diagnostic lab at UMaine Cooperative Extension. His thesis research integrates blacklegged tick passive surveillance data, field research, and laboratory analyses to understand the emergence of tick-borne pathogens in Maine.

  • Stephanie Hurd is a PhD student in Ecology and Environmental Sciences. Her thesis research investigates the impacts of forest management history across stand and landscape spatial scales on tick densities and infection prevalence in southern Maine.

  • Alyssa Marini will join the lab as a Master's student in Entomology in January 2022.

  • Brittany Schappach is a Master's student in Entomology and the One Health NRT program. Her thesis research combines ecological studies of blacklegged tick overwinter survival and social science studies of tick-borne disease knowledge across state-wide climate gradients in Maine.

  • Megan Schierer is a Master's student in Ecology and Environmental Sciences and the One Health NRT program. Her thesis research examines social-ecological drivers of vector mosquito distributions and community-based mosquito management.

  • Anna Bishop is an undergraduate student completing her Honors thesis in the lab. Her thesis focuses on biological and social barriers to use of genetically-modified mosquitoes as an IPM strategy.

  • Michael GalliWillow Throckmorton-Hansford, and Sarah Cloutier work in the lab as research assistants.

LAB ALUMNI

  • Christine Conte graduated in December 2019 with an MS in Ecology and Environmental Sciences. Her thesis investigated the impacts of selective timber harvesting on wildlife communities, blacklegged tick abundance, and Lyme disease transmission. She currently is a high school teacher.

  • Sara McBride graduated in May 2020 with an MS in Ecology and Environmental Sciences. Her thesis examined patterns and ecological mechanisms of entomological risk of exposure to Lyme disease in Acadia National Park. She currently works at the CDC Foundation tick rearing facility in Atlanta.

  • Michelle Volk graduated in August 2020 with an MS Ecology and Environmental Sciences. Her thesis research used field experiments to analyze drivers of blacklegged tick over-winter survival across statewide temperature and snowfall gradients. She currently is a PhD student in Fisheries and Wildlife at Michigan State University.