research team mentors

Principal Investigator
Kim A. Medley, PhD
(Conservation Biology)
Director, Tyson Research Center

Katie Westby, PhD (Biology)
Postdoctoral Research Associate, Tyson Research Center

Research focus for summer 2018

Our lab studies the ecology and evolution of mosquitoes and ticks as vectors of disease. We use a variety of tools to address basic and applied questions in both systems. Our projects for summer 2018 include:

  • Urban ecology and adaptation of invasive container-breeding mosquitoes
  • Effects of habitat age on container mosquito communities

  • Effects of prescribed fire on tick-borne disease (with Adalsteinsson lab)


Fellows can expect to gain exposure to multiple aspects of the scientific process from experimental design to dissemination of results. Independent research projects are encouraged for motivated students; fellows conducting independent projects can expect to design their own study, analyze the data, and potentially publish their work in peer-reviewed journals with guidance from post-docs and faculty.

Skills learned will likely include trapping and collecting a variety of animals (including ticks and mosquitoes) in the field; identifying endo-parasites, ecto-parasites and mosquitoes in the lab; maintenance of mosquito colonies; and using mist nets and dry-ice baited traps to collect animals.

research conditions

Fellows can expect to split their time between field and lab work. The ratio will depend on the nature of independent projects that are pursued, but currently planned research will be approximately 50/50 field/lab.

Team structure and opportunities for independent research

Our summer research group will be composed of a principal investigator (PI Medley), a postdoctoral research associate (Westby), two undergraduate fellows, and one high school fellow. Our lab collaborates closely with the lab of Dr. Adalsteinsson, and often works together on data collection on large-scale projects. Undergraduate fellows are mentored directly by postdocs on day-to-day work, and the lab meets with the PI weekly (usually in the form of a lab lunch); fellows are encouraged to meet with the PI as needed.