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THE LAB GROUP

 

 

Lab Head:

Courtney C. Murdock

 

                 

                                                                         Associate Professor 

 

                                                                         6136 Comstock Hall

                                                                         Department of Entomology                                                                                                                                         College of Agriculture and Life Sciences                                                                                                                   Cornell University, Ithaca NY 14853

 

                                                                         Contact: ccm256@cornell.edu

                                                                                         607-255-0904

                                                                          

 

                                                               

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Post-doctoral Researchers

   Joel Brown

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Post-doctoral Researcher (July 2021 - present)

6138 Comstock Hall

Department of Entomology

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Cornell University

Ithaca, NY 14853

email: jjb423@cornell.edu

I will be focusing on how temperature and relative humidity interact to affect traits of the Asian malaria mosquito vector Anopheles stephensi and human malaria (Plasmodium falciparum) and applying these findings to models of urban malaria transmission. Broadly, I have long been fascinated by parasite ecology and the interactions between host and symbiont, whether mutualistic, commensal, or parasitic. I have previously worked on how symbionts and temperature change can influence species interactions at the community level, and have studied the microbiome of kissing bugs (Triatominae) and its relationship with vectorial capacity. Beyond research, I am a keen herpetologist, naturalist, climber, and wildlife photographer.

   Daniel Hartman

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Post-doctoral Researcher (August 2021 - present)

6138 Comstock Hall

Department of Entomology

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Cornell University

Ithaca, NY 14853

email: dah385@cornell.edu

I’m interested in arbovirus ecology from a traits-based perspective. The virus, the vertebrate host, and the vector all represent complex populations with variations among traits that are highly related to disease transmission. These traits may also be interrelated among individuals in the form of life-history trade-offs. Further, the traits of these entities may be subject to phenotypic plasticity in the face of varying environmental factors and ecological conditions. The overarching goal of my research is to gain a holistic view of these collective traits and their fitness consequences under a variety of conditions. I use a combination of empirical approaches in the field and the laboratory, while stitching these data sets together using ecological models to evaluate the most impactful factors to inform disease control.

   Brandon Hollingsworth

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CIHMID Post-doctoral Researcher (September 2021 - present)

6138 Comstock Hall

Department of Entomology

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Cornell University

Ithaca, NY 14853

email: bdh79@cornell.edu

I am interested in determining how Aedes mosquitoes move through heterogeneous environments and how that impacts the spread of mosquito-borne disease and the effectiveness of mosquito control.  Currently, my work looks at the potential for using the mosquito virome to understand mosquito movement and seeks to combine novel mathematical and statistical techniques with population genetics and viromics in a field setting.

   Anna Langmüller

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MSCA Post-doctoral Global Fellow (January 2022 - present)

Weill Hall

Department of Computational Biology

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853

 

email: aml452@cornell.edu

I investigate the effect of population structure on the spread of mosquito-transmitted diseases using evolutionary simulation models as well as powerful statistical frameworks. I hope that my research sheds light on how spatial structure affects host-pathogen dynamics and how we can use this knowledge to improve disease forecasting and evaluate proposed intervention strategies.

   Brandy St Laurent

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Post-doctoral Researcher (February 2023 - present)

6140 Comstock Hall

Department of Entomology

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Cornell University

Ithaca, NY 14853

​email: bs744@cornell.edu

I am a vector ecologist interested in malaria transmission in areas with diverse vector species. I have done extensive field work in Southeast Asia and Africa, collecting malaria mosquitoes in forests and villages to examine their feeding behaviors. I have most recently dabbled in the population genomics of several Southeast Asian malaria vectors from my collections to investigate the population structure of these mosquitoes in a region where drug-resistant malaria parasites are spreading and insecticide-resistance is increasing. I have also done malaria transmission experiments in the lab to see how well malaria parasite isolates from the field infect diverse species. My work in the Murdock lab will focus on the impact of malaria parasite infection on Anopheles mosquito life history traits and behaviors. 

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NSF Post-doctoral Fellow (September 2023 - present)

6132 Comstock Hall

Department of Entomology

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Cornell University

Ithaca, NY 14853

​email: jkdavis@umass.edu

I am interested in the ecology of pollinators and herbivores in natural and agricultural ecosystems. My research explores the basic ecological dynamics between soil, plant, herbivore and pollinator communities; and how land use practices alter these relationships. My postdoctoral research focuses on how floral resources in agricultural landscapes affect pollinator nutrition and immunity to pathogens.

Graduate Students

   Nicole Solano

NSF IDEAS PhD student (August 2017 - present)

136 Ecology Building

 Odum School of Ecology

University of Georgia

Athens, GA 30602

​email: nsolano@uga.edu

I am interested in exploring the effect of larval interspecific competition on adult mosquito community dynamics and fitness with regards to disease transmission, how the outcome of competition is mediated by variation in microclimate due to land use change, and how mathematical models could use these data for broad-scale predictions about human disease transmission.

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   Mike Newberry

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NSF GRFP and IDEAS PhD student (August 2017 - present)

136 Ecology Building

 Odum School of Ecology

University of Georgia

Athens, GA 30602

​email: PMnewberry@uga.edu

I am investigating the interaction of the microbiome, the mosquito vector, and environmental factors. This includes examining within host and outside host microbial communities and observing how they vary across land use and season. I also intend to empirically determine the impacts of the microbiome on the vectorial capacity and life history traits of Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. My overall goal is to utilize a line of questioning that spans multiple scales of ecology to better understand abiotic and biotic drivers of vector-borne disease transmission.

   Britny Johnson

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PhD student (January 2022 - present)

6140 Comstock Hall

Department of Entomology

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Cornell University

Ithaca, NY 15853

​email: blj54@cornell.edu

Mosquitoes are arguably one of the deadliest organisms on the planet next to humans and are responsible for more deaths in the world than any other animal due to the diseases they carry. Specifically, malaria infects around 240 million people and kills approximately 620,000 people each year of which 80% are children under the age of 5. With climate change shifting habitat range and environmental conditions, it is important to understand how these changes might impact the dynamics between mosquitoes and malaria. My research interests include life history traits and trade-offs that occur between them. My goal is to understand how the mosquito allocates energy between reproduction and immunity in varying environmental conditions and then use that knowledge to better predict the dynamics of malaria infection in mosquitoes.

   Martina Morelli

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PhD student (January 2022 - present)

E351 Corson Hall

Department of Ecology and Evolution

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Cornell University

Ithaca, NY 15853

​email: mem498@cornell.edu

I am generally interested in vector-borne disease dynamics and quantitative ecology. In my research, I will use a combination of modeling and empirical methods to investigate within-vector population dynamics of malaria, and how these dynamics determine life history strategies of the parasite.

Research Staff

     Jared Skrotzki

The Mosquito Whisperer (June 2023 - present)

6138 Comstock Hall

Department of Entomology

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Cornell University

Ithaca, NY 15853

​email: js3729@cornell.edu

Undergraduate Researchers

   Erin Connelly (Jan 2021 - Dec 2022)

   Sarah Smail      (Sep 2021 - present)

   Anna Asomoah (Jan 2023 - present)

   Elora Robeck (Sep 2023 - present)

   Olivia Cheung (Sep 2023 - present)

   Adrienne Healy (Sep 2023 - present)

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