Research Projects

Our research projects are divided into those examining the enzootic transmission cycle of tick-borne diseases and those assessing the determinants of human risk.

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. We will also evaluate mice and other animal activity in yards that could be transporting ticks, using harmless hair traps and trail cameras. 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.

The Tick App

Using a smartphone app, we are trying to determine where and how often people become exposed to ticks on Staten Island, while users can access tick ID services and more. The Tick App is a joint effort between partners at the NE-VBD (Diuk-Wasser lab at Columbia University) and the MW-VBD (University of Wisconsin-Madison).

Project lead: Pilar Fernandez, PhD, Researcher

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