Congratulations to Kevin Regan, an undergraduate biology student (research advisor, Vida Irani) who won second place for his poster presentation, titled “Ecology of Zoonotic Infectious Disease: Small Mammal Reservoirs and Coinfection Risk by Tick-Borne Pathogens,” at the Penn State Behrend-Sigma Xi 27th annual Undergraduate Student Research and Creative Accomplishment Conference, held April 14, 2018.
Regan is part of an interdisciplinary collaboration between IUP biology faculty members Irani and Jeffery Larkin and Western Pennsylvania Conservancy researchers Charlie Eichelberger and Joseph Wisgo. Their study highlights the importance of infected small mammals in our ecosystem that serve as reservoirs for zoonotic pathogens/agents of human diseases, including Anaplasmosis, Babesiosis, Ehrlichiosis, Lyme Disease, and Powassan Encephalitis. The transfer of pathogens from small mammals to humans occur when a human is bitten by a tick which previously has obtained a blood meal from an infected small mammal host.
Regan was recently awarded a Student Research Grant from the Pennsylvania Academy of Science for this public health project, and will be presenting project data at the 2018 American Society for Microbiology international meeting in Atlanta, Georgia, this summer.
Department of Biology