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Brunner Lab News

Mitch’s paper on scavengers is published!

The paper from Mitch Le Sage’s M.S. thesis is now available online. It’s a nice set of studies, done with the help of Bailey Towey, looking at how scavenging invertebrates remove carcasses and thus can prevent pathogen transmission. Plus, pretty figures. Nice one, Mitch!


Le Sage, M. J., B. D. Towey, and J. L. Brunner. 2019. Do scavengers prevent or promote disease transmission? The effect of invertebrate scavenging on Ranavirus transmission. Functional Ecology

Johnna Eilers to join the lab

Johnna Eilers has been working with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources for the last several years doing any number of cool wildlife projects in remote areas. Fortunately for us, she has decided that she’d like to be in charge of her own research project and so will be joining my and Jeb Owen’s labs this fall to start her MS research on Dermacentor andersoni  ecology. We’re looking forward to her arrival!

Brendalis Camacho joins the lab for the summer

Brendalis Camacho just graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology and joins us for a summer REU to work on viral replication rates as a function of temperature. She is is wonderfully proficient with cell culture, so she is showing Jesse how things should be done. Welcome Brendalis!

Emily Burton and Erin Keller join the lab!

We are fortunate to have two new PhD students join the lab this summer. Erin Keller just received her M.S. from U Vermont foe her work on the ecology of a gregarine parasite of invasive earthworms. Very cool work. See her website for more:

Emily Burton just graduated from Villanova, where she worked on several projects related to bird population genetics and evolution, and promptly started her field work at the Cary Institute!

Welcome to both!

NSF grant funded on stress and disease

This is now very old news, but at first it wasn’t official and then all of a sudden we were in the thick of it! Anyway, our grant, “Linking environmental challenges to the likelihood and severity of epidemics: A view through the shifting window of susceptibility,” was funded by NSF’s DEB! Whoo hoo! Erica Crespi and Tracy Rittenhouse are the other PIs.

Summer 2018 REUs to study environmental stress and disease in amphibians

We are looking for REUs for the summer of 2018 to work on projects related to stress physiology and disease susceptibility as part of a larger grant. There are opportunities to work on projects from amphibian immunology to mathematical models of disease.

See the info on my collaborator, Erica Crespi’s page:

Mitch successfully defends his thesis!

Mitch successfully defended his masters thesis last week! Entitled, “Are scavengers good for your health? The effect of scavengers on disease transmission,” it focuses on determining whether invertebrate scavengers, primarily dytiscid beetle larvae, minimize transmission from infectious carcasses to naive amphibian larvae through necrophagy (they do) or, by being messy eaters, increase transmission through the water (they don’t). It’s pretty cool! He’s preparing the manuscript for submission and then off to greener pastures!


Well done, Mitch!

New review paper on impacts and ecology of ranavirus lineages published!

A new review paper that I was part of is now published. Stephen Price really led this effort and produced some very cool figures. Take a look! It is a nice global overview of the impacts of ranaviruses on their hosts.

It is part of a special emphasis section on ranaviruses in the latest issue of Virology:

Price, S. J., E. Ariel, A. Maclaine, G. M. Rosa, M. J. Gray, J. L. Brunner, and T. W. J. Garner. 2017. From fish to frogs and beyond: Impact and host range of emergent ranaviruses. Virology 511:272-279.


Christian and Christina join the lab!

Welcome to new masters’ students, Christian Yarber and Christina Thomas! Christian is coming to us from UT Knoxville where he worked in a number of labs, including Matt Gray’s lab doing amphibian disease experiments. Christina graduated from WSU a bit ago and has been working on tick projects in NYS all summer. So glad you two could join us!