Current Trainees

photo: Kaylee Arnold

Kaylee Arnold

Research Interests: Understanding the effects of anthropogenic stressors on the gut bacteria of disease vectors and Chagas disease transmission dynamics
Previous Education: B.S. in Biology from the University of Redlands (Southern California), 2013; M.S. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Tulane University, 2016
Advisors: Nicole Gottdenker / Program: Ecology
Email: kaylee.arnold@uga.edu

Portrait of Mandie Caulfield

Mandie Caulfield

Research Interests: Host-pathogen interactions, vaccinology, transmission, and the rise of pertactin-deficient Bordetella pertussis
Previous Education: B.S. in Biology, M.S. in Molecular and Cell Biology, Quinnipiac University
Lab: Eric Harvill and Pejman Rohani / Program: Infectious Disease
Email: amanda.caulfield@uga.edu

Portrait of Brandi Celia

Brandi Celia

Research Interests: NonCYP51A azole resistant Aspergillus fumigatus and the link between the environment and clinical setting
Previous Education:
B.S. in Biology, Wingate University
Advisor: Michelle Momany / Program: Plant Biology

Email: brandi.celia@uga.edu

photo of Cody Dailey

Cody Dailey

Research Interests: Infectious disease epidemiology; exploring molecular phenomena and their implications for disease dynamics and population health; data analysis; malaria
Previous Education: B.S. in Biology with a Minor in French, UGA, 2015; dual degree MPH in Epidemiology/Biostatistics, UGA, 2017
Why IDEAS?: This program will facilitate my growth as a scientist by broadening my perspective for epidemiological research. Incorporating multi-discipline and -scale aspects to my work and having an opportunity for real-world application are some of the key perks in my mind.
Advisor: Ming Zhang / Program: Epidemiology
Email: daileyco@uga.edu

Portrait of Lambodhar Damodaran

Lambodhar Damodaran

Research Interests: Phylodynamics and epidemiology of viruses, particularly influenza and HIV viruses
Previous Education: B.S. Biology, University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Why IDEAS?: I felt that the across scales and interdisciplinary focus would be extremely valuable in my research and my development as a scientist due to the ever-increasing interdisciplinary focus and complexity of biological research.
Lab: Justin Bahl / Program: Institute of Bioinformatics
Email: lambodhar.damodaran@uga.edu

Portrait of Julia Frederick

Julia Frederick

Research Interests: Understanding how genotype-phenotype interactions affect Lyme disease spread through Ixodes scapularis
Previous Education: B.S. in Biology, Georgia Institute of Technology
Why IDEAS?: IDEAS inspires me to explore my research from a different perspective, and provides a unique set of researchers with skills sets across a huge range of fields that all are willing to provide guidance in new directions I can take my project. 

Advisor: Travis Glenn /  Program: Environmental Health Science
Email: julia.frederick@uga.edu

photo: Deven Gokhale

Deven Gokhale

Research Interests: Incorporating pathogen interactions within epidemic models to study their effect on the population dynamics of co-circulation and long term persistence

Previous Education: University of Vermont
Advisor: Pejman Rohani / Program: Ecology
Email: deven.gokhale@uga.edu

Portrait of Megan Lott

Megan Lott

Research Interests: Microbial quality of water resources, water and wastewater infrastructure, and low-cost detection methods for water monitoring and treatment
Previous Education: B.S. Public Health and M.S., University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill
Lab: Erin Lipp / Program: Environmental Health Science
Email: megan.lott@uga.edu

Rachel Mercaldo

Research Interests: Epidemiology of Mycobacterium tuberculosis
Previous Education: B.A. in General Arts and Sciences: Science and Mathematics, Pennsylvania State University (2014)
Advisor: Andreas Handel / Program: Epidemiology and Biostatistics
Email: mercaldo@uga.edu

photo: Paige Miller

Paige Miller

Research Interests: Integrating ecological, epidemiological, and dynamical systems theory to improve our ability to probe signals of tipping points in real data
Previous Education: B.S. Mathematics and Biology, Gustavus Adolphus College
Why IDEAS?: I was drawn to the IDEAS program because of the emphasis on preparation for government and industry career paths.
Advisors: John Drake and Chris Whalen / Program: Ecology
Email: paige.miller@uga.edu

Portrait of Maria Luisa Muller Theissen

Maria Luisa Muller Theissen

Research Interests: Cross-species transmission dynamics and determinants of host range using milkweed butterflies and their protozoan parasites
Previous Education: B.S. in Biology, M.S. in Field Epidemiology, Center for Health Studies, Universidad del Valle de Guatemala
Lab: Sonia Altizer and Nicole Gottdenker / Program: Ecology
Email: maria.mullerthe25@uga.edu

photo: Mike Newberry

Mike Newberry

Research Interests: Observing the interactions between mosquito vectors and the environment, investigating the microbiome of mosquitoes, and determining implications for disease transmission
Previous Education:  BS in Biology and Environmental Studies, Emory University
Advisors: Courtney Murdock and Mike Strand / Program: Ecology
Email: pmnewberry@uga.edu

photo of Alexandria Purcell

Alexandria Purcell

Research Interests: My research focuses on the gram negative bacteria outer membrane and the modifications made to the outer membrane that allows for bacterial survival and resistance 
Previous Education: BSc Microbiology, University of Georgia
Why IDEAs?
IDEAs will allow me to expand my research outside of my focused interests, and it also allows me to experience research outside of the University through an internship. 
Advisor: M. Stephen Trent / Program: Infectious Diseases
Email: alexandria.purcell25@uga.edu

photo of Isabella Ragonese

Isabella Ragonese

Research Interests: Studying the intersecting areas of animal behavior, spatial ecology, and anthropogenic change as they relate to disease dynamics in wild populations
Previous Education: B.A. in Integrative Biology, Skidmore College, 2017
Advisors: Sonia Altizer and Richard Hall / Program: Ecology
Email: isabella.ragonese@uga.edu

Portrait of Kate Sabey

Kate Sabey

Research Interests: Understanding how gut microbiota shape and are shaped by nutrition, behavior, and disease physiology in wildlife
Previous Education: B.S. in Biology from Juniata College
Advisor: Vanessa Ezenwa / Program: Infectious Diseases
Email: kate.sabey@uga.edu

photo of Darren Seidel

Darren Seidel

Research Interests: Investigating ruminal microorganism dynamics when altered through nutritional or natural factors, how these alternations affect animal growth/performance, and how specific foodborne pathogens enter supply chains through food animal vectors
Previous Education: B.S. in Animal Science and Geosciences, Angelo State University (2015), M.S. in Agricultural and Biological Engineering, Purdue University (2017)
Advisor: Todd Callaway / Program: Animal and Dairy Science
Email: darren.seidel@uga.edu

photo: Nikki Solano

Nikki Solano

Research Interests: Understanding the effects of abiotic and biotic factors on mosquito traits that are important for disease transmission through empirical and experimental studies in order to improve mathematical models
Previous Education: B.A. Dance, Agnes Scott College
Why IDEAS?: There simply wasn’t another program that aligned this well with my personal and career goals (professional development, science communication, interdisciplinary collaborations, and quantitative skills).
Advisors: John Drake and Courtney Murdock / Program: Ecology
Email: nsolano@uga.edu

Portrait of Daniel Suh

Daniel Suh

Research Interests: Relationship between biodiversity and disease transmission; impact of introduced species and other anthropogenic factors; macroecology of infectious diseases; mathematical modeling
Previous Education: B.S. in Biology, Pepperdine University, 2016
Lab: Andrew Park / Program: Ecology
Email:  daniel.suh@uga.edu 

Portrait of Alec Thompson

Alec Thompson

Research Interests: Parasitology, molecular sciences, and wildlife disease, and the population biology and ecology of exotic arthropods
Previous Education: B.S. in Microbiology, University of Okalahoma, 2017, NIH Post-Baccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP) in Infectious Diseases, UGA, 2018
Lab: Michael Yabsley / Program: Comparative Biomedical Sciences
Email: alec.thompson@uga.edu

photo of Megan Tomamichel

Megan Tomamichel

Research Interests: Exploring the interactions between populations, the environment, and disease; particularly in aquatic systems, and using this information to inform management to mitigate impacts of disease outbreaks
Previous Education: BA in Zoology and Creative Writing, University of Wisconsin-Madison, MS in Conservation Sciences, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
Why IDEAS?: I find the program’s emphasis on complex, multi-level interactions unique and very inspiring.
Advisors: Jeb Byers and Richard Hall / Program: Ecology
Email: megan.tomamichel@uga.edu

photo: David Vasquez

David Vasquez

Research Interests: Exploring the interactions between populations, the environment, and disease; particularly in aquatic systems, and using this information to inform management to mitigate impacts of disease outbreaks
Previous Education: B.S. in Biological Sciences, Virginia Tech, 2015; Post-baccalaureate Research Education Program, University of Missouri; Population Biology of Infectious Diseases REU participant, 2014
Why IDEAS?: When IDEAS launched, I discovered that there wasn’t another program in the country that could compete with it. With IDEAS, I am most excited to participate in an internship that will utilize the skills I have acquired on campus in a real world environment.
Advisors: Andrew Park / Program: Ecology
Email: dvasquez@uga.edu

Visit David Vasquez’s Website

Portrait of Joy Vaz

Joy Vaz

Research Interests:  I’m curious about the emergence of zoonotic diseases, especially understanding how human-wildlife-livestock interactions shape disease dynamics. My research focuses on the ecology of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in camels, humans, and wildlife in Ethiopia. I integrate data from social, environmental, and epidemiological studies into mathematical models. In the future, I hope to do research that combines science and social justice to understand the complex interactions between poverty, infectious diseases, and environmental health.
Previous Education: B.S. with Honors, Biochemistry, Calvin College 
Why IDEAS?: I aspire to expand upon traditional studies of infectious diseases by developing more inclusive and integrative research methods. My passion for interdisciplinary disease research is what lead me to pursue training through the IDEAS program.
Advisor: John Drake / Program: Ecology 
photo of Anna Willoughby

Anna Willoughby

Research Interests: Human-wildlife interactions, One Health, multi-species and zoonotic pathogens
Previous Education: B.S. in Evolutionary Anthropology and Biology, Duke University
Why IDEAS? Not only does IDEAS provide a network of disease ecology experts, but it also encourages creative application of theory and methods from other disciplines. I believe the collaboration provided through this interdisciplinary research fosters novel perspectives and solutions to the complex challenges of infectious diseases.
Advisors: Sonia Altizer and John Drake / Program: Ecology
Email: anna.willoughby@uga.edu

photo of Cali Wilson

Cali Wilson

Research Interests: Understanding how anthropogenic disturbances affect wildlife behavior, community composition, and disease transmission
Previous Education: B.S. in Biology, Bucknell University, 2018 
Advisors: Sonia Altizer and Richard Hall / Program: Ecology
Email: cali.wilson@uga.edu

Portrait of Cece Working

Cece Working

Research Interests: Disease ecology; community ecology in domestic and wildlife populations
Previous Education: B.S., Biology and Philosophy, Mills College (Oakland)
Lab: Vanessa Ezenwa and Rico Holdo / Program: Ecology
Email: cworking@uga.edu

Portrait of Rachel Xu

Ruijie "Rachel" Xu

Research Interests: Evolution and transmission of leptospirosis from both genomics and ecological perspectives
Previous Education: B.S. in Biochemistry, University of Georgia, 2018
Lab: Liliana Salvador / Program: Bioinformatics
Email: ruijie.xu25@uga.edu

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