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Monday, 29 January 2018 18:57

Ticks and Sandflies Suck!

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Published in microTalk

mcdowell(Blood, That Is) and Transmit Diseases, Too!  Dr. Mary Ann McDowell is an Associate Professor at the University of Notre Dame. Dr. Joao Pedra is an Associate Professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

McDowell studies the parasitic disease Leishmaniasis, which is transmitted to humans through the bite of a sandfly. Pedra studies Lyme disease and Anaplasmosis, which are bacterial diseases that are transmitted to humans through the bite of a tick. The sandfly and tick vectors play an essential role in the lifecycle of these human pathogens, and both McDowell’s and Pedra’s research is investigating the interaction of these pathogens with their vectors. A better understanding of vector biology may lead to novel means to control these diseases.

Drs. McDowell and Pedra discuss the possibility of controlling vector-borne disease by vaccines that target Pedra Joaopathogen transmission, the impact of global warming on vector-borne disease, and how teachers play an important role in inspiring the next generation of scientists.

The MicroCase for listeners to solve is about Adriana Wellington, a waitress at the Hitching Post who gets a mysterious disease while fulfilling her lifelong dream to see gorillas in the wild.


  • Karl Klose, Ph.D. (UTSA)
  • Dr. Mary Ann McDowell (University of Notre Dame)
  • Dr. Joao Pedra (University of Maryland School of Medicine)

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Last modified on Monday, 29 January 2018 19:45
Karl Klose

Karl Klose, Ph.D. is a Professor of Microbiology at the University of Texas San Antonio, the Director of the South Texas Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases (STCEID), and host of microTalk. He oversees the research on infectious diseases that is carried out in his laboratory by undergraduate, Masters’, and Ph.D. students, as well as research staff. He also teaches microbiology to undergraduate and graduate students.

Karl is enthusiastic about enlightening people to the fascinating world of microbes.  He has given two TED talks on antibiotic resistance. He has been a visiting professor in Kolkata India and Valparaiso Chile.  He has spent the past two years visiting ASM branch meetings through the Distinguished Lecturer program.  You can find Karl on Twitter and you can find STCEID on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram.