Erika Machtinger, PhD, CWB®

Principal Investigator

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Lab Members

Laboratory Research Technicians

Taylor Miller

Taylor joined the lab in Spring 2019 to work on tick screening of natural compounds. Taylor will also be assisting with small mammal trapping, bear den checks, fly rearing, and other essential projects.


Post-doctoral Research Associates

Karen Poh

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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 a MSc in Environmental Toxicology from Texas Tech University. She has worked extensively with zoonotic and vector-borne diseases. Hannah will be leading the black bear project at Penn State in the hopes of learning more about the ecology of mange in black bears.

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Alex Pagac - MSc Student

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

Jessica Brown - MSc

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Project: Evaluation of tick distribution and host-selection of blacklegged ticks on small mammals in Pennsylvania.

Jessica graduated with an Bsc in Wildlife and Fisheries Science at Penn State. Her extensive research experience had her asking questions about tick distribution on small mammals. She is interested in parasitology and the impact of parasites on wildlife.

Committees: 

Amanda Jones - PhD Student - Penn State - Committee Member

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


Undergraduate Researchers

Spring 2019

Robert Cockerill - Major: Immunology and Infectious Disease - Project: Efficacy of commercial repellents against American dog tick

Katie Porter - Major: Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences - Project: Tick behavior in response to repellents

Carley Lionetto - Major: Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences - Project: Tick response to conspecific odors

Jessica Brown - Major: Wildlife Science and Fisheries - Project: Efficacy of commercial repellents against lone star ticks.

Taylor Miller - Major: Wildlife Science and Fisheries - Project: Effect of C8910 fatty acides on nymphal lone star ticks


Past lab members

Previous Undergraduate Researchers

Fall 2018

Alexis D’Souza - Major: Veterinary and Biomedial Sciences - Project: Filth fly development in different animal bedding materials.


Summer 2018

Teddy Nguyen - Major: Immunology and Infectious Disease - Project: Immune function of American black bears in response to mange infection

Dillon Gruver - Major: Wildlife Science and Fisheries - Project: Mosquito distribution in ruffed grouse habitat

Kaila Fedele - Major: Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences - Project: Tick burdens and immune function of white-footed mice in Pennsylvania

Liz Tuorinsky - Major: Animal Science - Project: Efficacy of commercial fly repellents against house flies