Rocky Mountain Laboratories
903 South 4th Street
Hamilton, MT 59840
LECTURE TOPICS AND DESCRIPTIONS
Epidemiology of Tick-borne Relapsing Fever in North America
Tick-borne relapsing fever is a zoonosis with the causative
agents maintained in small mammal – tick cycles. Three species of borrelia cause relapsing
fever in North America, with each species of
spirochete transmitted by a different species of tick in different ecological
settings. The distribution, spirochete
diversity, tick and mammal hosts, pathogenesis of infection, and diagnosis and
treatment will be covered.
Epidemiology of Tick-borne Relapsing Fever in Africa
The history of early explorations in Africa that led to the first recognition of tick-borne relapsing fever will be discussed, followed by a presentation of current field studies that are being performed in Mali, West Africa.
Adaptations of Spirochetes for Acquisition and Transmission by Ticks
Pathogenic spirochetes transmitted by ticks alter their surface proteins as these bacteria cycle between their mammalian and tick hosts. The common and unique phenotypes of spirochetes that cause Lyme disease and relapsing fever will be described, which demonstrate adaptations for the acquisition and biological transmission by ticks with vastly different feeding behaviors.
Tom Schwan received his undergraduate training in biology at California State University, Hayward, where he also did his Master’s Degree research on the fleas parasitizing grassland rodents. He next spent two years in the U.S. Peace Corps working on wildlife-related projects at Lake Nakuru National Park, Kenya. Tom then studied for his Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley, investigating the ecology of fleas and plague in East Africa. He spent three years of postdoctoral training at the Yale Arbovirus Research Unit at Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut.
Since 1986, Tom has been at the Rocky Mountain Laboratories in Hamilton, Montana, where he is Chief of the Laboratory of Zoonotic Pathogens. Tom and his group currently focus their efforts on the biology of ticks, the interaction of spirochetes in their tick vectors, improving serological tests for identifying human infections with spirochetes, and the epidemiology of tick-borne relapsing fever in North America and Africa. Tom is a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology (elected 2001), served 9 years on the Editorial Board for the Journal of Clinical Microbiology, currently serves on the editorial board of three journals, and has co-authored 162 scientific papers.
ASM MEMBERSHIP AFFILIATION
Primary Division B Microbial Pathogens
Secondary Division D Microbe-Host Interactions