Environmental Science Research Collaboration

Environmental Science Lecturer Joseph Staples, with the assistance of several Environmental Sciences students, has been working with Maine Medical Center (MMC) on disease vectors that carry Lyme Disease, West Nile Virus, and Eastern Equine Encephalitis as well as urban and forest pests. Through collaborative research, Dr. Staples and three Environmental Science students, Maggie Welch and Josie Lahey - both researchers at the USM Environmental Entomology Lab, and Jackie Allen - an Environmental Science student intern at MMC, are playing an important role in monitoring disease vectors in Maine.

A recent news story reported on the research work being conducted by Maine Medical Center (MMC) and the Maine Center for Disease Control (CDC) regarding Lyme Disease, West Nile Virus, and Eastern Equine Encephalitis.

In the News 8 report, you see Maggie Welch and Jacki Allen working at microscopes in the Maine Medical Disease Vector Lab.  In addition to acquiring important data for Staples' research, these students represent the strong collaboration between the Maine Medical Vector Borne Disease Lab and the Department of Environmental Sciences.

The potential significance of this work is illustrated by the results of the research performed by Leticia Smith, a former Environmental Science student who worked with Maine Medical Center and Dr. Staples on a number collaborative projects. Because of her hard work and the opportunities provided by the Environmental Entomology Lab at USM and the Maine Medical Vector Borne Disease Lab, Leticia will begin her doctoral studies in Medical Entomology at Cornell University this coming Fall. Her work was an integral part of the research resulting in two papers (cited below). 

Effect of a botanical acaricide on Ixodes scapularis (Acari: Ixodidae) and nontarget arthropods. (2013) Elias SP, Lubelczyk CB, Rand PW, Staples JK, St Amand TW, Stubbs CS, Lacombe EH, Smith LB, Smith RP Jr.  Journal of Medical  Entomology. 50(1):126-36.

An epizootic of eastern equine encephalitis virus, Maine, USA in 2009: outbreak description and entomological studies.  (2013) Lubelczyk C, Mutebi JP, Robinson S, Elias SP, Smith LB, Juris SA, Foss K, Lichtenwalner A, Shively KJ, Hoenig DE, Webber L, Sears S, Smith RP Jr. The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.  88, 1, 95-102.