Dina M. Fonseca, MS, PhDdina-fonseca_reference

Professor, Department of Entomology, Graduate Program in Ecology & Evolution, Graduate Program in Microbiology, Rutgers University

Director, Center for Vector Biology
Research Associate, Center for Conservation Genomics, Smithsonian Institution

Molecular ecologist and evolutionary biologist. Strong extension program working with everyone from mosquito control professionals to residents. Spearheaded urban mosquito control by residents through Citizen Action Through Science (Citizen AcTS). Founding member of the Worldwide Insecticide resistance Network (WIN).

Email: dina.fonseca at rutgers dot edu
Google Scholar

Nicole Wagner, MS

Senior Research Technician, Center for Vector Biology, Rutgers University

Nicole is a wizard in the lab. She extracts DNA and RNA from various sources and makes Next Gen sequencing libraries for the Illumina and Oxford Nanopore platforms.

Email: nicole.wagner at rutgers dot edu
CV (click to download)

Research Associates

Julia Gonzalez Gonzalez, PhDJulia_Gonzalez_photo

Funded by a CDC grant through the NE Center of Excellence in vector Borne Diseases (NEVBD) to examine critical drivers of the invasive Asian longhorned tick phenology and strategies for control (Dina is the PI). Julia is now being funded by a grant from the DoD AFPMB (PI is Dr. Jim Simon, Rutgers Plant Sciences) to examine the effects the repellent catnip on ticks. She is working with Dr. Alvaro Toledo.

Email: julsglezglez at gmail dot com
CV (click to download)

Francisco Ferreira Jr, DVM, PhDFrancisco_Ferreira

Francisco is a visiting professor in the Fonseca lab working with canaries, mosquitoes and bird malaria parasites. He uses the CVB renovated insectaries. Francisco’s project is funded by an NSF Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Diseases grant (Dina is the PI) that aims to generate the first comprehensive genomic/ transcriptomic datasets detailing the evolutionary potential of the major players in a complex multi-host disease system.

Email: francisco.ferreira at rutgers dot edu
Google Scholar
CV (click to download)

Current Students

James Occi, MSJim Occi (1).jpg

PhD candidate, Department of Entomology, Rutgers University

Jim is a recovering microbiologist – he worked in big pharma and the New Jersey Medical School – and hopes to become a medical entomologist when he grows up. He currently has a full time position at the NJ Department of Health where he developed some of the first COVID19 tests on NJ residents.  For his graduate work, Jim is studying the prevalence of pathogens in New Jersey’s tick populations as well as developing the first formal lists of NJ hard of soft ticks.

Email: occijl at njms dot rutgers dot edu
Google Scholar


PhD student, Department of Entomology, Rutgers University

Technically, Grayson started in January 2021 but he has been working on the genomes of two salt marsh mosquitoes, Aedes sollicitans and Ae. taeniorhynchus since last Fall. He is also developing research on the physiology and underlying genetics of Culex pipiens host choice.

Email: gtung9 at gmail dot com
Google Scholar

Agnesa RedereAgnesa Redere

PhD Candidate, Department of Ecology & Evolution, Rutgers University

Agnesa is developing research to evaluate the expected utility in three scenarios of ecological importance: epigenetics in changing environments, in proactive versus reactive mosquito control strategies in curtailing the spread of Zika virus, and in the psychological concept of priming in changing environments. She uses mathematical modeling and simulations to generate understanding of these concepts. Agnesa is co-advised with Dr. Nina Fefferman, a mathematician at University of Tennessee.

Email: ar837 at scarletmail dot rutgers dot edu

Julia BrennanJulia_Brennan_news

Julia is an undergraduate in the Ecology, Evolution, and Natural Resources major. She is currently working on projects with Dr. Price and Dr. Fonseca on both ticks and mosquitoes. Her favorite part of working at the Center for Vector Biology is the field work, with tick collection and dissection at the top of the list. She looks forward to working in vector biology in her future.

Email: jrb354 at scarletmail dot rutgers dot edu

Alumni collaborators

Andrea Egizi, PhDAndrea_Egizi_field

Visiting Professor, Department of Entomology Rutgers University
Research Scientist, Tick-borne Disease Laboratory, Monmouth County Mosquito Control Division

The Tick-Borne Diseases Laboratory is located in premises associated with the Center for Vector Biology in New Brunswick allowing close and strong collaborations between Andrea and members of the Fonseca lab.

Andrea was Dina’s first graduate student (yikes!). She finished her PhD in 2014.

Email: andreaegizi at rutgers dot edu
Google Scholar

Dana Price, PhDDana_Price_Lab

Associate Research Professor, Department of Entomology, Rutgers University

Dana has an independent lab at CVB focusing on pathogen discovery and enhanced strategies for arboviral surveillance.

Dana finished his PhD in 2015.

Email: d.price at rutgers dot edu
Google Scholar

Brian Johnson, MS, PhDBrian_Johnson2017

Brian is a Senior Researcher at the QIMR Berghofer, Medical Research Institute in Queensland, Australia. He works on the spatial and temporal drivers of vector-borne diseases and the development of advanced surveillance and intervention strategies.

Brian finished is PhD in 2015. He was back in the lab in 2017 as a Research Associate leading a NOAA funded project examining the effects of sea level rise and mitigation approaches on salt marsh mosquito and strategies for control.

Email: Brian.Johnson at

Rafael Valentin, PhDRafael Valentin

Rafael is a Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Princeton University.

Rafael finished his PhD in 2018 – he was co-advised by Dina and by Dr. Julie Lockwood, Rutgers EENR.

Email: raf.e.valentin at gmail dot com
Google Scholar


Sebastién Marcombe, PhDMarcombe

Chief Research Medical Entomologist, Institute Pasteur (Disease Vector Unit), Vientiane, Laos

Seb was a Research Associate in the lab from 2011-2013 integrated in the Areawide Asian tiger mosquito project. He characterized the Aedes albopictus susceptible strain (available here) and developed the first detailed insecticide resistance testing of US Ae. albopictus.

Email: s.marcombe at pasteur dot la
Google Scholar

Jiawu Xu, PhDJiawu_Xu

Manager of the Kwon Lab at Harvard Medical School working on the effects of the human microbiome on human health (specifically HIV).

Jiawu was a Research Associate in the lab from 2010-2013 integrated in the Areawide Asian tiger mosquito project.

Email:  jxu25 at mgh dot harvard dot edu

Nusha Keyghobadi, PhDkeyghobadi2016.jpg

Full Professor, Department of Biology, Western University, Canada

Nusha joined the Fonseca lab in 2001 as a postdoctoral researcher. She helped manage the fledging lab then a off-site branch of the Smithsonian Center for Conservation Genetics at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia. Nusha developed many of the microsatellites used across the Culex pipiens complex project and developed research on Hawaiian Culex and Pennsylvania butterflies.

She is also the reason we still have a pile of XS glove boxes (!)

email: nkeyghob at uwo dot ca
Research Gate
Google Scholar

%d bloggers like this: