Professor Elizabeth ( Beth ) McGraw – Group Leader
Department of Entomology — Penn State University
Beth studied Biology at the University of Michigan before doing a PhD at The Pennsylvania State University on the evolution of virulence genes in human pathogens. During her postdoc at Yale University School of Public Health she began working in the Wolbachia:insect system attracted by the ability to ask questions about the evolution of mutualism versus virulence in symbionts. She then moved to the University of Queensland for further postdoctoral research before taking up an assistant professor position. Beth joined Monash University in 2011 as a Larkins Fellow where her work has focused on the mosquito:dengue:Wolbachia association.
She is currently a Huck Scholar in Entomology and Director of the Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics at Pennsylvania State University.
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Dr Heverton Dutra – Postdoctoral Scholar
Heverton is a vector biologist with experience in mosquitoes and fruit flies. He obtained both his Master’s and PhD degrees in Health Sciences with an emphasis on Cell and Molecular Biology at the Rene Rachou Research Institute – FIOCRUZ (Brazil). His current work is focused on the host-microbe interaction between Aedes aegypti andWolbachia, exploring the mechanisms behind the pathogen interference effect of these bacteria on arboviruses. Previous jobs were also focused on using such bacteria as an innovative tool for vector control using Aedes aegypti, Anopheles gambiae and Drosophila melanogaster as model organisms.
Dr Meng-Jia Lau – Postdoctoral Scholar
Meng-Jia did her PhD in Melbourne university and investigated the fitness and evolutionary impacts of Wolbachia in the dengue mosquito Aedes aegypti. She is interested in interactions among Wolbachia, host and virus, the efficiency of Wolbachia mediate virus blocking and evolutionary impacts of Wolbachia on their hosts.
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Fhallon Ware-Gilmore – PhD student
Fhallon obtained her bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science from The University of West Alabama. She is broadly interested in the ecology of vector-borne diseases. Specifically, how environmental variation can influence insect behavior, biology, and disease emergence.
Her current research focuses on understanding the underlying consequences of a globally changing climate and addresses questions regarding the influence of viral infection on mosquito thermal tolerance, specifically relating to the history of heat exposure, history of evolutionary adaptation, and the involvement of heat shock processes. In parallel, her research aims to gain insight into whether current limitations in dengue virus thermotolerance are likely to evolve under higher temperatures.
By looking into this complex interplay in mosquito physiology, ecology, genetics, and evolution, her hope is to better understand the various factors that may facilitate/and or limit mosquito response to a changing environment.
Fhallon has additional interest in public health communication and service, and in supporting scientific outreach in underrepresented communities.
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Suk Lan Ser – PhD student
Suk Lan obtained her biochemistry undergraduate degree and Master’s degree in biology from West Virginia University. She is interested in how environmental factors such as temperature and microbial community play a role in dengue virus transmission.
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Matt Jones – Research technician
Matt has over 15 years of experience in scientific research. His expertise includes virology and evolutionary biology, with a focus on molecular techniques. In the McGraw lab he is examining the genetic basis of Wolbachia-mediated pathogen blocking. He is also responsible for cell culture, molecular protocol development and training all new staff and students.
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Heather Engler – Research technician
After working with lizards for many years, Heather has joined us to work on lizard food – Mosquitoes!
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Austin Mejia – Masters Student
Austin received his B.S. in Biology from The University of Houston. He is widely interested in microbiology and virology. He is also always on the quest to learn more about diseases and how to prevent them. His research focuses on Wolbachia in Aedes aegypti and its blocking effect on dengue virus.
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Brianna McNulty – Undergraduate Student
Brianna is a junior majoring in Biology. Her research interests include infectious disease and public health. After graduating, Brianna plans to further her studies in epidemiology.
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Anastacia Diaz – Undergraduate Student
Anya is very interested in Wolbachia and the intricacies of using it to prevent more mosquito-borne viruses/outbreaks…along with expanding her knowledge of mosquitoes.
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Recent past members of the McGraw lab – Current employment
Dr Leah T. Sigle – (Postdoc)
Mario Novelo (PhD student) – Postdoc Penn State University
Suzanne Ford (Postdoc) – Masters program in psychology Oxford University
Cassandra Koh (PhD student) – Postdoc Pasteur Institute Paris
Eric Caragata (PhD student) – Assistant Professor University of Florida
Andrew Turley (PhD student) – Queensland Museum
Henry Ye (PhD student) – Sales & Technical Support Bioneer
Hilaria Amuzu (PhD student) – Senior research scientist CSL Behring
Gerard Terradas (PhD student) – Postdoc Penn State
Rose Herbert (PhD student) – Teaching Assistant Monash University
Emily Kerton (Research assistant) – Research Assistant Latrobe University
Luis Jimenez (Honors student) – Research Assistant Monash University
Michelle Audsley (Postdoc) – Postdoc Monash University
Joash Lake (Undergraduate) – PhD Student University of Chicago
Alison Carrasco (Research Assistant) – Clinical Research Associate Avance Clinical
Bradley Borges (Research Assistant) – Medical Student Melbourne
Jim Griffiths (Research Assistant) – Masters student University of Calgary