Erika Machtinger, PhD, CWB®

Principal Investigator


Lab Members

Laboratory Research Technicians

Jessica Brown - Research Technician

Jessica is a Wildlife and Fisheries Science major at Penn State. She spent two years at Penn State Harrisburg and is completing her major at University Park. Jessica is a member of the Penn State student chapter of the Wildlife Society. Jessica is also an equestrian and has several of her own horses. Jessica is responsible for the care and maintenence of the insect colonies in the Veterinary Entomology Laboratory, as well as participating in all field work. 


Dillon Gruver - Research Technician

Dillon grew up in central Pennsylvania. He is currently studying Wildlife and Fisheries Sience with a Forest Ecosystems Minor at Penn State. Dillon has been a Wildlife Counselor and is currently an active member of the Wildlife Society student chapter and the Forestry club. Dillon will be heading our research on West Nile virus and risk factors for ruffed grouse. Dillion will also be working on several other field projects throughout the summer. 


Post-doctoral Research Associates

Karen Poh


Karen is originally from Texas and recently graduated with her PhD in Entomology from Texas A&M University. She combines her knowledge of entomology with public health to study the ecology of vector-borne diseases. Her dissertation focused on the spatial epidemiology of West Nile Virus transmission dynamics in Texas to identify patterns between the landscape, climate, and demographic factors on WNV activity in Culex quinquefasciatus mosquitoes. Karen is also familiar with mosquito and tick field work/rearing, small and medium mammal sampling, avian sampling, and molecular work. Karen will be modeling habitats and looking at the spatial distribution of tick species and their associated diseases found in Pennsylvania.

Graduate Students

Hannah Greenberg - PhD Student

Project: The ecology of mange in black bears in Pennsylvania

Hannah hails from Pennsylvania and has recently graduated  with a MSc in Environmental Toxicology from Texas Tech University . She has worked extensively with zoonotic and vector-borne diseases including Zika and Flavivirus surveillance, encephalitis complex surveillance, mosquito trapping in the field, molecular techniques including RNA extraction, PCR and gel electrophoresis and imaging; necropsies, molecular test optimizations, disease screening; Feral Swine Disease surveillance, and large mammal tracking, trapping, and baiting, radio telemetry, and necropsies; disease screening using molecular techniques. Hannah will be leading the black bear project at Penn State in the hopes of learning more about the ecology of the mange epidemic facing black bears in the state. 


Alex Pagac - MSc Student

Project: Development of improved microbial control for flies on poultry facilities


Amanda Jones - PhD Student - Penn State - Committee Member

Grace Hummell - MSc Student - University of Maryland - Committee Member

Undergraduate Researchers

Kaila Fedele - Undergraduate Researcher 2018

Kaila is a Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences major at Penn State. Kaila has extensive experience working in the veterinary sciences, including small mammal work. She has shadowed veterinarians and worked with exotic animals in South Africa. Kaila will be leading a project examining tick attachment dynamics on wild rodents, and tick behavioral responses to host odors. 

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Elizabeth Tuorinsky - Undergraduate Researcher 2018

Liz is an Animal Science major at Penn State. She has worked as an assistant at an animal clinic and at the Penn State dairy barns. Liz has an interest in veterinary sciences and gaining research experience. Liz will be looking at the efficacy of fly repellents on house flies.