Genomics of Invasive and Emerging Species (GENIES)

Populations change over space and time, profoundly affecting epidemiological and economic landscapes and risk estimates. Rapid evolution in invasive species may be a good proxy for the effects of Global Climate Change on disease epidemiology. We develop tools to reveal incipient infestations and identify their sources and optimize management strategies. New projects aim to also identify traits associated with intra-population variation in critical epidemiological traits.

We research how species arrive, thrive, change, and (if capable vectors) transmit new and local pathogens to wildlife, livestock, pets and humans. We develop and use population and species level genetic markers that range from mitochondrial sequences to hypervariable microsatellites (SSRs) and dense maps of Single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). We use PCR, qPCR, standard and NextGen Illumina sequencing. We perform life-history measurements, competition experiments and insecticide resistance tests as well as field surveillance and control experiments in collaboration with federal, state, and county mosquito control programs as well as homeowners.

We are located at the Center for Vector Biology part of the Department Entomology at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. We have strong on-going collaborations with researchers in Entomology, Ecology & Evolution and Environmental Sciences at Rutgers, the Monmouth County Tick-Borne Diseases Program, the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies and the Smithsonian Center for Conservation Genomics at the National Zoo in Washington, DC.