ABOUTWhat We Do
Our research team combines experts in veterinary medicine, parasitology, entomology, ecology, and public health. We are taking a 'One Health' approach to study the ecology and epidemiology of Chagas disease in the southern US. With this approach, we are combining studies of vector populations, wildlife reservoirs, domestic dogs, parasite genetic strains, laboratory animals, and human risk. There are many researchers across Texas A&M University and other institutions in Texas that we work with who have expertise on different aspects of Chagas disease.
- We are engaged in field collections of kissing bugs using diverse trapping techniques across private and public lands.
- We have established a state-wide public outreach effort through which we are inviting citizens to submit kissing bugs to our laboratory for identification and testing. This 'citizen science' approach is allowing us to obtain samples from many ecoregions of the state and has broadened the impact of our research. See some of the citizen science results from bugs collected in 2013-2014.
- We are educating veterinarians and physicians to be aware of Chagas disease and its status in Texas.
- Our wildlife studies involve capture/release live-trapping of diverse small mammal species and solicitation of blood and tissue samples from hunter-harvested wild animals. See some of the results from feral hog and carnivore studies we have done recently
- We have established a network of seven animal shelters in the state, and we are assessing the burden of Chagas disease in shelter dogs to provide an index of local risk. See the work we completed in a state-wide survey of shelter dogs.
- In the laboratory, we are identifying bugs to the species level and testing bugs and wildlife samples for T. cruzi. We are particularly interested in using genetic approaches to determine the strains of parasite that circulate in different regions, because different strains are associated with different disease outcomes in humans and animals.