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. 


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

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.


Taylor Miller - Undergraduate Researcher 2018-2019

Taylor is a senior Wildlife and Fisheries Science major at Penn State. She will join the lab in the Fall of 2018 to work on tick screening of natural compounds and then will be moving to parasitoid behavior in the Spring. Taylor will also be assisting with bear den checks and other projects.


Sofia Viebranz - Undergraduate Researcher 2018-2019

Sofia is junior Veterinary and Biomedical Science major at Penn State. She has working with small animals at a veterinary hospital, but is interested in production animals. She will be working on project discoving life history differences in parasitic wasps of filth flies.


Past lab members

Kaila Fedele - Undergraduate Researcher 2018

Rodent ecology and immune funtion in relation to tick density in Pennsylvania