People

Dr. Dina M. FonsecaDina_Fonseca

Director, Center for Vector Biology, Rutgers University
Professor, Department of Entomology, Rutgers University
Professor, Graduate Program in Ecology & Evolution, Rutgers University
Professor, Graduate Program in Microbiology, Rutgers University
Research Associate, Center for Conservation Genomics, Smithsonian Institution

Molecular ecologist and evolutionary biologist specializing in rapid change. 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) and of InSITe (Innovative Strategies for Invasive Species Surveillance).

Email: dina.fonseca at rutgers dot edu
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Research Associates

Dr. Brian JohnsonBrian_Johnson2017

My research is focused on understanding the spatial and temporal drivers of vector-borne diseases and the development of advanced surveillance and intervention strategies. I am particularly interested in understanding how human-induced changes impact disease risk by understanding how these changes impact the ecology and behavior of disease vectors, their hosts, and the interactions between these two groups.

Brian is also an alumnus of the lab. He finished is PhD in 2014.

Email: johnson.brian at rutgers dot edu
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Hawaii project: 3-year Post-doc available! Details here.

Current Students

James Occi, MSJim Occi (1).jpg

PhD Student, Department of Entomology, Rutgers University

Jim is a recovering microbiologist and hopes to become a medical entomologist when he grows up. As a microbiologist he has worked in big pharma and now New Jersey Medical School in the search of new antibacterial entities. For his graduate work, Jim is studying Rickettsia prevalence in New Jersey’s tick populations.

Email: occijl at njms dot rutgers dot edu
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Agnesa RedereAgnesa Redere

PhD Candidate, Department of Ecology & Evolution, Rutgers University

My research interests focus on evaluating 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 inthe psychological concept of priming in changing environments. I use 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

Rafael ValentinRafael Valentin

PhD Candidate, Department of Ecology & Evolution, Rutgers University

Rafael’s research is focused on understanding invasion dynamics at biogeographic and local scales. He addresses the influence of transport and release on post-establishment evolution; the global invasion pathways of invasive insects; and utilizing environmental DNA (eDNA) to create novel detection methods for early detection of invasive insects in terrestrial systems. Rafael is co-advised with Dr. Julie Lockwood, Rutgers Ecology and Evolution.

Email: raf.e.valentin at gmail dot com
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Melvin DelVillarMelvin DelVillar

Undergraduate Student, School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, Rutgers University

Melvin has been working as a research technician in the salt marsh mosquito project with Brian and will next work on qPCR tests of container Aedes mosquitoes to evaluate the northern expansion of the Asian tiger mosquito. He is interested in the relationship between arthropod transmitted vector-borne diseases and people, and how this relationship changes over time and space. Melvin is double majoring in Entomology and Kinesiology & Health.

Email: mdd145 at scarletmail dot rutgers dot edu

Florence Pierre

Undergraduate Student, School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, Rutgers University

Florence is interested in agricultural pests and will work with Rafael on eDNA strategies for early detection of spotted lanternfly, a new invasive species not yet recorded in NJ. Florence is majoring in Biological Sciences.

Email: fp185 at scarletmail dot rutgers dot edu

Deblina MukherjeeDeblina Mukherjee

Undergraduate Student, School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers University

Deblina is developing strategies to detect highly degraded blood meals in mosquitoes and ticks. Deblina is a pre-med majoring in Biological Sciences.

Email: deblina10 at gmail dot com

Collaborators

Dr. Andrea Egiziandrea-egizi-large2

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

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 is also an Alumna of the lab. She finished her PhD in 2014.

Email: andreaegizi at rutgers dot edu
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lab_relax

Dr. Sebastién MarcombeMarcombe

Seb was a postdoc researcher 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. Since the Fall of 2013 he is the Chief Research Medical Entomologist, Institute Pasteur (Disease Vector Unit), Vientiane, Laos

Email: s.marcombe at pasteur dot la
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Dr. Dana PriceDana_Price_1170_480

Dana finished his PhD in 2015. He characterized the Doublesex gene in Culex pipiens and Cx. quinquefasciatus (and corrected the one for Aedes aegyptii). He also sequenced the comparative transcriptome of the two forms of Culex pipiens. Since 2016 he is the Director of the Genome Cooperative, Rutgers University and an Associate Research Professor, Department of Plant Biology, Rutgers University

Email: d.price at rutgers dot edu
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Dr. Jiawu XuJiawu_Xu

Jiawu was a postdoc researcher from 2010-2013 integrated in the Areawide Asian tiger mosquito project. Since 2013 he has been the Manager of the Laboratory of Molecular Biology and Microbiome Research, University of Oklahoma and a Research Scientist, Department of Anthropology, University of Oklahoma

Email: jiawuxu at ou dot edu
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Prof. Nusha Keyghobadikeyghobadi2016.jpg

Nusha joined the Fonseca lab in 2001. She helped manage the fledging lab and is the reason we still have a pile of XS glove boxes (!) Nusha developed many of the microsatellites used across the Culex pipiens complex project and developed research on Hawaiian Culex and Pennsylvania butterflies. She is now an Associate Professor, Department of BiologyWestern University, Canada

email: nkeyghob at uwo dot ca
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