Dr. Mather (a.k.a. the TickGuy) came to URI in 1992 from the Harvard School of Public Health, and now serves as director of URI's Center for Vector-Borne Disease and its TickEncounter Resource Center. His research focus is on tick ecology, area-wide tick control strategies, tick-bite protection, and tick-borne disease prevention. His research and outreach programs are diverse, including anti-tick vaccine discovery projects, evaluations of targeted tick control strategies, tick-borne disease risk prediction, as well as development of tick-bite protection decision support tools and social networking strategies for tick-borne disease prevention. His work has received local, national, and even international recognition and has attracted more than $13 million from a wide variety of sources, including the National Centers for Disease Control, the US Department of Agriculture, the National Science Foundation, the Environmental Protection Agency, the US Agency for International Development, and the National Institutes of Health.
Megan graduated from URI in 2005 with a Bachelor's degree in Biological Sciences. Since then, she has been working as a research assistant at the Center for Vector-Borne Disease, where she works on several projects dealing with tick control and ecology, as well as pathogen transmission. She is the technical field specialist in charge of a community based tick control study evaluating the 4-Poster tick control device in Narragansett, RI. The 4-Poster is a device developed by USDA that attracts white-tailed deer to a baited station where they are treated with a tick-killing pesticide, interrupting tick reproducation and the tick life-cycle.
Cindy received M.S. (botany, 1973) and Ph.D. (food science, 1981) degrees from URI. She is a professional freelance writer and editor, specializing in science and technology topics for more than 30 years. She has worked for publishers including Apple and IDG (International Data Group). Cindy's first TickEncounter occurred in July 2003 with a diagnosis of Lyme Disease. In August 2006 a nymphal tick co-infected her with babesiosis and a second dose of Lyme. Since then she has been vigilant about protecting herself in the gardens at her Wakefield home - and proactive in helping to educate others about the potentially devastating consequences of tick-borne illnesses. In 2011 she wrote a series of articles about tick-bite prevention for Narragansett-SouthKingstown Patch.
Katie Berger graduated from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst in 2006 with a Bachelor's degree in Microbiology and a Master's degree in Natural Resources from the University of New Hampshire in 2008. She joined the CVBD in the fall of 2008 where her dissertation research focused on identifying microclimatic components of a tick encounter risk index using a combination of fieldwork, remote sensing/GIS tools, and retrospective analysis of historical tick abundance data for the state of Rhode Island. She graduated from URI with a PhD in Environmental Sciences in December of 2011 and currently works with the CVBD on projects dealing with ecology and tick encounter risk as well as the continued development of a geographical user interface, in collaboration with URI's Computer Science and Statistics department, to more efficiently process long-term NOAA weather data for life science research applications.
Emily received a Bachelor's degree in Biological Sciences from URI in 2006. After graduating, she joined the Mather lab as a Research Intern. Emily worked on a variety of projects for the Tick Vaccine Research Laboratory, including gene expression studies and proteomics.
Nate received a Master of Science degree in Animal Science from the University of Rhode Island in 1998 studying ticks and their reproductive hosts. Since that time he has continued working in the Center for Vector-Borne Disease as a research associate on all aspects of tick ecology, control, pathogen transmission and anti-tick vaccine development. Currently his main focus, along side Dr. Mather, is working on unique community-based workshops in high tick-risk neighborhoods demonstrating tick control and tick-bite prevention strategies.
Kim, a graduate in biology from the University of Rhode Island, started out in multimedia development with URI's Computer Science department. She then worked on producing interactive, educational games for URI's Center for Vector-Borne Disease on the topics of Lyme disease and tick awareness. She is currently the Media Production Coordinator for the Chandra X-ray Center at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Her work includes astronomical visualization, multimedia development and related outreach activities as part of the CXC's Education and Outreach Group that serves the Chandra X-ray Observatory, a mission funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. She has received awards from NASA and the Smithsonian Institution and continues to be a part of the developing field of scientific visualization.
Dr. Jean-Yves Hervé joined the Dept. of Computer Science and Statistics in 2000. His main research interests are computer vision, modeling and simulation, and their application to scientific visualization, robotics, and bioinformatics. In a previous appointment at École Polytechnique de Montréal (Québec) he was involved in a number of industrial application projects. Current research projects include real-time interposition in Augmented Reality, space perception for "smart monsters" in video games, modeling and simulation of pedestrian evacuation, and pedestrian visual tracking for surveillance applications. Dr. Hervé is a founding member of the URI 3D Group for Interactive Visualization.
Dr. Wendy Shattuck has been a post-doctoral research fellow at the University of Rhode Island’s Center for Vector-Borne Disease (CVBD) since 2008. Prior to her arrival to the University of Rhode Island, Dr. Shattuck earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology as well as minors in English and Psychology from Indiana University. She earned her Ph.D. in Cell and Molecular Biology with a concentration in microbiology from URI. As a member of CVBD she is currently working on the development of an alternative animal model for acquired tick resistance, or ATR. Dr. Shattuck hopes to build on the success of the U19 pilot project grant as well as expand the HLA transgenic mouse model for ATR to other tick-borne pathogens.
Dr. Neeta Connally graduated from URI with a PhD in Environmental Sciences in 2004. Her disseration focused upon fine-scale ecological determinants of Lyme disease. She also holds a Master of Science in Public Health from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, and she spent several years conducting postdoctoral epidemiologic research of tick-borne diseases at Yale School of Public Health. Dr. Connally is currently an Assistant Professor of Biology at Western Connecticut State University, and she continues to work with CVBD applying her expertise in tick-borne disease epidemiology and risk assessment towards developing innovative decision support tools for tick-borne disease prevention.
Brian Mullen is the Director of New Media for the TickEncounter Resource Center. He graduated from URI with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and a Minor in Digital Art in 2004. He also completed a certificate in Digital Media from The ICPNM Academy in 2005. Brian's main areas of focus are scientific modeling & animation, photography, and graphic design. He's taught courses at URI and RISD CE on Digital Art and Design and is also a member of the URI 3D Group for Interactive Visualization.
Jason LaPorte graduated from URI in 2010 with a Bachelor's degree in Environmental Science and Management. He began working at the Center for Vector-Borne Disease in 2009 as an intern and was promoted to a research assistant position in 2011. He is currently working on projects which involve tick population monitoring and pathogen detection. He has filled a multidisciplinary role at the Center by working in the field and in the laboratory while also aiding the Center's outreach program. Jason has strong interests in pathogenic microbiology, immunology, and vaccine research.
Lindsay graduated with a self-designed Bachelor’s degree in Biological Systems Research from Green Mountain College in 2011. She joined the Mather lab in April 2013 as a Master’s student and research assistant where she will be working on tick surveillance, integrated tick management, and cultivating public involvement in management processes. Her interests include Lyme disease epizootiology, avian disease ecology, and Lyme disease education.
Matt graduated in 2005 with his Bachelor's degree in Biological Sciences from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. Since then, he worked as a clinical research assistant for special projects at the Quality Assurance Review Center, a UMass Medical School affiliate, assisting with radiation oncology clinical trials, and at EpiVax, Inc. as an assistant project manager for grant and corporate funded projects. He joined the Mather lab in 2007 as a Master's candidate in Cell and Molecular Biology.
Tomás Francisco is a Research Engineer at the 3D Group for Interactive Visualization. He was born in Zaragoza, Spain. He obtained a Ingeniero Superior en Informática degree fom the Centro Politécnico Superior, Universidad de Zaragoza(Spain). He was a European Union Erasmus Exchange Student at the Royal Polytechnic Institute (KTH) of Stockholm, Sweden. He came to URI in March 2007 with a Spanish government scholarship to carry out his master's thesis as part of the International Engineering Program (IEP). Tomás first joined URI's 3D Group for Interactive Visualization as a Research Assistant under supervision of Professor Jean-Yves Hervé. After he succesfully defended his thesis he was hired as Research Engineer.