Learn more about our fundingNSF CHN Award


Visit our lab's website to learn more: The Eco-Epidemiology Lab

Our current projects

The Eco-epidemiology lab led by Prof. Maria Diuk-Wasser has been conducting several tick-focused research projects in NYC since 2017. Our field work has focused primarily on Staten Island, the most affected borough.

Image of a deer from a camera trap
Islands and Corridors: The urban disease landscape

Through tracking deer and mice movement, sampling tick and mice in parks and screening for pathogens, this project will determine how tick-borne diseases, like Lyme disease, can emerge and persist on Staten Island.

Project lead: Meredith VanAcker, MS, PhD Candidate

A cat walking through leaf litter in a park
A game of cat and mouse

This project examines the role of urban feral cats in the Lyme disease system as potential predators of the main host of the disease, the white-footed mouse.

Project lead: Laura Plimpton, MS Candidate

The longhorned tick
Raccoons, possums and more

From our research last year we discovered that the newly invasive Asian longhorned tick feeds on deer but not on mice. We aim  to determine if it feeds on medium-sized mammals (raccoons, opossums, skunks, etc.) that could infect them.

Project lead: Danielle Tufts, PhD, Postdoctoral Associate

Image of park with dense vegetation
Litter bugs

This project examines how the depth and quality of the leaf litter in parks and other forest characteristics affect the number of mice, the number of ticks, and the role that leaves and plants play in the spread of Lyme disease.  

Project lead: Daniel Mathisson, MA Candidate

People in the park
People, parks and ticks

The goal of this project is to evaluate the risk of tick exposure in the most frequently used areas in parks, how the park visitors protect themselves from tick bites and what we can do to increase the protection from ticks  

Project lead: Erin Hasset, MS Candidate (Cornell Univ.)

Member of the research team sampling ticks in a yard
Tick encounters: understanding people’s risk

During house visits, we will evaluate the risk in the yards by sampling for ticks and conducting a survey to learn about protective measures people undertake or are willing to implement. This data will be combined with the data collected in parks and The Tick App to understand how can we better prevent tick exposure and provide custom-made solutions  for Staten Islanders.

Project lead: Pilar Fernandez, PhD, Postdoctoral Associate

The Tick App logo
The Tick App

The main goal of this project is to study human behavior, tick exposure and the risk of Lyme disease using a citizen science approach via a smartphone application, The Tick App. The Tick App uses a combination of surveys and geolocation technology to uncover how people's day-to-day activities play a role in their risk for tick-borne diseases.

Project lead: Pilar Fernandez, PhD, Postdoctoral Associate

Latest News

New and Improved Update of “The Tick App” Released

Spring marks the start of nymphal blacklegged tick season, and this year the newest version 3.2.0 of The Tick App has been released. Through citizen science, we examine the ways human behavior and day-to-day activities influence people’s risk for tick-borne diseases and tick exposure. The Tick App features daily logs, tick identification services, local tick activity reports, tick check reminders, and more!. Turning on location services can inform you about local blacklegged tick activity. 

As work from home and social distancing will limit research and education on tick-borne diseases this summer, remote participation through citizen science is crucial. 

The Tick App team is also partnering with health departments and vector control units in the Northeast to promote The Tick App and provide them with information on tick activity affecting their communities. 

By filling out daily logs, interacting with, and using our new application, you can assist us in answering our team’s research question: how and where are people being exposed to ticks? This will help us develop strategies to minimize your risk of tick exposure through carefully designed prevention strategies.  

If you’ve previously downloaded The Tick App, remember to update it to the newest version. Because of the update, tick identification services are processed quicker for version 3.2.0 users. 

Please download The Tick App through the Apple App Store or Google Play and start fighting ticks today!