PUBLICATIONSPeer-Reviewed Research

Our lab regularly publishes our research findings in peer-reviewed scientific journals. "Peer-review" means that other scientists and experts have critically reviewed our methods, findings, and conclusions and found them to be well-done and trustworthy. Publishing in peer-reviewed journals also ensures that our research findings will be permanently available to future generations interested in understanding our lab's work. Here, we have compiled a list of our current publications, including a brief summary, as well as the link to the article.

Bejcek JR, Curtis-Robles R, Riley M, Brundage A, Hamer SA, Hamer GL. 2018. Clear resin casting of arthropods of medical importance for use in educational and outreach activities. Journal of Insect Science. 18(2): 34: 1-4.

We developed a protocol specific to embedding medically-important insects in resin, creating safe-to-handle and well-preserved examples for both classroom teaching and public health outreach education.

Curtis-Robles R, Hamer SA, Lane S, Levy MZ, Hamer GL. 2018. Bionomics and spatial distribution of triatomine vectors of Trypanosoma cruzi in Texas, USA. The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. 98(1): 113-121.

We analyzed data from over 3200 kissing bugs submitted by citizens from 2012-2016. Adult kissing bugs were most frequently collected during the summer months (May-September). Different kissing bug species were more likely to be found in different areas of Texas than others.

Curtis-Robles R, Auckland LD, Snowden KF, Hamer GL, Hamer SA. 2018. Analysis of over 1500 triatomine vectors from the southern US for Trypanosoma cruzi infection and discrete typing units. Infection, Genetics and Evolution. 58: 171-180.

We tested over 1500 kissing bugs, and we found 54% were infected with Trypanosoma cruzi. Infection prevalence varied by kissing bug species. We also determined the T. cruzi strain types in infected bugs: we found TcI and TcIV. Different kissing bug species were associated with different strain types.

Meyers A, Meinders M, Hamer SA. 2017. Widespread Trypanosoma cruzi infection in government working dogs along the Texas-Mexico border: Discordant serology, parasite genotyping and associated vectors. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases. 11(8): e0005819.

We sampled 528 working dogs along the Texas-Mexico border, and found that 7.4-18.9% of dogs were positive for T. cruzi antibodies and a small proportion (0.6%) also had parasite circulating in the blood. We collected two species of kissing bugs from the canine environments and used molecular approaches to determine that 45% were positive for T. cruzi and the majority had recently fed on canines.

Curtis-Robles R, Zecca IB, Roman-Cruz V, Carbajal ES, Auckland LD, Flores I, Millard AV, Hamer SA. 2017. Trypanosoma cruzi (agent of Chagas disease) in sympatric human and dog populations in colonias of the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas. The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. 96(4): 805-814.

We sampled people and dogs living in medically-underserved colonias along the Texas-Mexico border. We found 1.3% of people and 19.6-31.6% of dogs were infected with the Chagas parasite. Kissing bugs collected by residents of the colonias were found to have fed on dog, human, and raccoon blood; one bug was infected with the Chagas parasite.

Hodo CL, Bertolini NR, Bernal JC, VandeBerg JL, Hamer SA. 2017. Lack of Trypanosoma cruzi infection in urban roof rats (Rattus rattus) at a Texas facility housing naturally infected nonhuman primates. Journal of the Association for Laboratory Animal Science. 56(1): 57-62

We sampled roof rats from a non-human primate facility in Texas. None of the rats we tested were positive for the Chagas parasite, suggesting that this species of rat is likely not a source of infection at this facility.

Bryan LA, Hamer SA, Shaw S, Curtis-Robles R, Auckland LD, Hodo CL, Chaffin K, Rech RR. 2016. Chagas disease in a Texas horse with neurologic deficits. 216: 13-17.

We were involved in a study of a 10-year old Texas horse with neurologic disease, which found the Chagas parasite in the spinal cord of the horse. This was the first case study of Chagas disease in a horse in the US.

Comeaux J, Curtis-Robles R, Lewis BC, Cummings KJ, Mesenbrink BT, Leland BR, Bodenchuk MJ, Hamer SA. 2016. Survey of feral swine (Sus scrofa) infection with the agent of Chagas disease (Trypanosoma cruzi) in Texas, 2013-2014. Journal of Wildlife Diseases. 52(3): 627-630.

Feral hogs are an abundant and wide-spread nuisance species across the southern US. We tested feral hogs from across Texas and found evidence of the Chagas parasite in 6% of the hogs.

Curtis-Robles R, Lewis BC, Hamer SA. 2016. High Trypanosoma cruzi infection prevalence associated with minimal cardiac pathology among wild carnivores in central Texas. International Journal for Parasitology: Parasites and Wildlife. 5(2): 117-123.

We tested bobcats, coyotes, foxes, and raccoons for evidence of the Chagas parasite. We found 12-14% of bobcats, coyotes, and foxes were infected, and 70% of raccoons with infected. Raccoons may be very important to the maintenance of the Chagas parasite in Texas.

Hodo CL, Goodwin CC, Mayes BC, Mariscal JA, Waldrup KA, Hamer SA. 2016. Trypanosome species, including Trypanosoma cruzi, in sylvatic and peridomestic bats of Texas, USA. Acta Tropica 164: 259-266.

We tested insectivorous bats from across Texas and found 0.17% of bats were infected with the Chagas parasite. This finding is the first report of the Chagas parasite in a bat in the US.

Curtis-Robles R, Wozniak EJ, Auckland LD, Hamer GL, Hamer SA. 2015. Combining public health education and disease ecology research: Using citizen science to assess Chagas disease entomological risk in Texas. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases. 9(12): e0004235.

From May 2013 to December 2014, a total of 1,980 kissing bugs were submitted to our program, mostly collected from dog kennels and outdoor patios. These bugs allow insight into a cross-section of bugs of high epidemiological and veterinary relevance. Citizen submissions of kissing bugs peaked in June-July and showed 63.3% infection prevalence with the Chagas parasite.

Tenney, TD, Curtis-Robles R, Snowden KF, Hamer SA. 2014. Shelter dogs as sentinels for Trypanosoma cruzi transmission across Texas, USA. Emerging Infectious Diseases. 20(8): 1323-1326.

We tested high-risk shelter dogs from seven shelters across Texas. We found that 8.8% of dogs had evidence of exposure to the Chagas disease parasite, showing that dogs from diverse areas of Texas are at risk.