I have studied natural selection and ecological processes, including rapid, evolutionary effects of gene flow (especially involving transgenic plants), and possible risks associated with gene editing and gene drives for altering or suppressing wild populations.  A current example involves a proposal to develop gene-edited, white-footed mice that are resistant to the Lyme spirochete for release on Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, Massachusetts.  Evaluating this proposal led to my latest research interest, which is investigating the abundance and infection levels of blacklegged ticks on Nantucket, to better understand the ecological dynamics of the Lyme transmission cycle.  With colleagues at UMass-Amherst, I’m also studying other tick-borne diseases and the invasion of lone star ticks on Nantucket.  Our progress report for the 2020 summer field season is available here.  Highlights from 2020 and 2021 are summarized here.  An update including findings from 2022 coming soon.

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