Lab News


Spring/Summer 2014

  • Welcome to Cecilia Sanchez, who started her PhD in the Odum School of Ecology in Fall 2014. Cecilia originally hails from Colorado and plans to work on nutrition and infectious disease processes in Australian fruit bats.

  • Congratulations to PhD student Dan Becker for receiving a UGA-ARCS foundation fellowship.

  • PhD student Dara Satterfield and former lab member Emily Cornelius organized a great session on citizen science at the 2014 Ecological Society of America meeting in Sacramento, CA .

  • Four new papers from dissertation chapters of current and former lab members:

    • An analysis of overlapping parasite communities in carnivores was published in Journal of Animal Ecology by Shan Huang.

    • A modeling study on social networks, disease risk and vaccination in chimpanzees by Julie Rushmore is the August cover article for Royal Society Interface.

    • A field study of MHC and parasitism in montane voles by Jamie Winternitz appears in the September issue of Evolutionary Ecology.

    • A modeling exploration of resource provisioning and infectious disease dynamics by Dan Becker is in the July issue of Biology Letters
  • Welcome to REU student Mary Kate Williams, from the University of Arkansas-Little Rock, who is developing a project on the persistence of parasite environmental stages, through support from the NSF-funded Population Biology of Infectious Diseases REU site at UGA. Mary Kate is co-mentored by S. Altizer, D. Satterfield and R. Hall.

  • Sonia Altizer and Andy Davis presented a keynote address at the North American Butterfly Association annual meeting in Chattanooga, TN.

  • Welcome to undergraduate Anna Willoughby, a Duke University student who will spend a month working on monarch-pathogen research in the lab.

  • Sonia Altizer and Dara Satterfield participated in the 2014 Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Diseases conference in Ft. Collins, CO.

  • Congratulations to Dara Satterfield and Alexa Fritzsche for successful NSF Dissertation Improvement Grant Proposals!

Fall/Winter 2013-14

  • Welcome to new PhD student and Wormsloe Fellow Ania Majewska, whose work will focus on the role of pollinator gardens in butterfly conservation.  

  • Farewell to postdoc Daniel Streicker, who is traveling across the Atlantic to begin a research fellow position at the University of Glasgow. Daniel was also awarded a Sir Henry Dale fellowship to support 5 years of work on bat-pathogen interactions.

  • Congratulations to Daniel Streicker, who won the top prize for the Science Magazine (AAAS) and SciLifeLab Award for most promising young scientist, an international competition across all disciplines.

  • Congratulations to new momma Ania Majewska on welcoming baby Daphne in November 2013!

Spring/Summer 2013

  • PhD student Dara Satterfield, together with Sarah Heisel and Sarah Budishak, won top prize in an NSF-sponsored essay contest about graduate education. An article on their essay is printed here.

  • Emily Cornelius defended her MS thesis in June 2013, focused on parasitism and immune defense in migrating songbirds in coastal GA. Emily will begin a PhD program at the University of Wisconsin this fall.

  • Julie Rushmore successfully defended her PhD thesis on social contact networks and primate disease risk in April 2013, and plans to start a DVM degree in the UGA Vet School this fall. Congratulations Dr. Rushmore!

  • Sonia Altizer taught a field course in the ecology of wildlife diseases at Mountain Lake Biological Station in June 2013.

  • PhD student Dan Becker was awarded several grants for his work on vampire bat ecology and behavior in Latin America, including an Odum School small grant, a LACSI Graduate Field Research Award, a Student Research Scholarship from Bat Conservation International, and student research grants from the American Society of Mammalogists and the Animal Behavior Society.

  • Dan Becker also received a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, which provides three years of stipend support.

  • Farewell and congratulations to Jamie Winternitz, PhD, who left Athens in April to start a new postdoc at the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic. We will miss you!

  • Sonia Altizer is a co-PI on a newly awarded NSF EEID Research Coordination Network grant on the Macroecology of Infectious Diseases, awarded to the University of Georgia (with lead PI Patrick Stephens, co-PI Vanessa Ezenwa, and other co-PIs at Brown, George Mason and the University of Otago). This 5-year grant will support twice-annual workshops focused on understanding large-scale patterns of infectious disease distributions in wildlife and humans.

  • PhD student Dan Becker participated in lots of travel this spring and summer, including field work on vampire bats in Peru with postdoc Daniel Streicker and Ben Stoner-Duncan, a workshop on stable isotopes in Canada, and a Research Coordination Network exchange in Ecoimmunology at the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research in Berlin.

  • Sonia Altizer, Dara Satterfield and Alexa Fritzsche spent a week in central Mexico doing field sampling of wild monarchs at their wintering sites in the neovolcanic mountains in February 2013.

  • Postdoc Daniel Streicker was awarded a National Science Foundation Math-Bio postdoctoral fellowship to study the evolution of bats and rabies viruses at the University of Glasgow starting this fall.

  • Alexa Fritzsche received a grant from the Animal Behavior Society to support her work on migratory behavior and the ecoimmunology of infection in monarch butterflies.

  • Dara Satterfield received grants from Monarch Joint Venture and the North American Monarch Institute to support ongoing monitoring of parasite prevalence in winter breeding monarchs in the southeast and in California.


Fall/Winter 2012

  • PhD student Shan Huang successfully defended her thesis focused on carnivore macroevolution and parasites in September 2012. She immediately began a new postdoc at the University of Chicago, focused on macroevolution in bivalves. Congratulations Dr. Huang!

  • PhD student Jamie Winternitz had a great thesis defense in November 2012, focused on parasitism and MHC evolution in montane voles. Congratulations Dr. Winternitz!

  • Congrats to Dara Satterfield and Alexa Fritzsche for passing their oral and written comprehensive exams this past year!


Summer 2012

  • Science Nation episode, titled “Butterflies and Bats Reveal Clues About Spread of Infectious Disease,” features Sonia Altizer, Daniel Streicker and Dara Satterfield. To view the video, click here.

  • New findings on vampire bat rabies by Daniel Streicker are highlighted in BBC News. To view the article, click here.


Spring 2012

  • In January, Dr. Daniel Streicker began an NSF-funded postdoctoral position working on the dynamics of rabies in vampire bats in Peru using a combination of field studies, molecular genetic analysis and mathematical modeling.

  • Several lab members were recognized for GSS presentations in January, including Emily Cornelius: 1st place Masters research, Dara Satterfield: 1st place Ph.D. proposed research, Julie Rushmore: 1st place Ph.D. dissertation research.

  • Congratulations to Alexa Fritzsche, who published a paper on the effects of tick-induced fear on squirrel foraging in EcoHealth with Dr. Brian Allan.  To view the paper, click here:
    To view a press release, click here:

  • In February and March, Mike Maudsley travelled to Bermuda and Costa Rica to conduct field work on monarch butterfly parasites.
    Congratulations to Emily Cornelius, who was awarded grants from the Georgia Ornithological Society and Sigma Xi to support her research on infection and immunity in migratory songbirds.

  • Graduate student Dara Satterfield received a 3-year NSF graduate research fellowship award to support her work on the consequences of monarch migration loss for parasite infection dynamics.

  • Graduate student Julie Rushmore received a Dissertation Completion Award from the UGA Graduate School to support her work during 2012-13.

  • Congratulations to Julie Rushmore, who was one of two UGA graduate students selected for the annual GHSU/UGA Student Exchange Award for Excellence in Biomedical Research. The winners each receive a cash award and an invitation to present a research seminar at the other institution with travel and accommodations provided.

  • Jamie Winternitz received the Solitary Glove award from the Odum School of Ecology in recognition of her service as head of the EcoReach elementary education program since 2009.

  • Farewell to undergraduates Meagan Weathers and Amy Wright, who helped run Project Monarch Health and assisted with lab experiments for the past two years.  Meagan and Amy graduated as seniors in May 2012!

  • The lab will also miss Michael Maudsley, who moved on to a research position at Emory University in May 2012.  Michael has worked with the monarch-parasite interaction in the field and laboratory since Fall 2007, and was with the Altizer Lab for almost 5 years.  We wish Mike well in his new job!

  • Welcome to undergraduates Han Nguyen and Jennifer Kukharchuk, who will assist graduate student Dara Satterfield in her monarch experiments during summer 2012.  They will also take over the regular duties of Project Monarch Health this summer.
    Welcome to Erin Edwards, a UGA veterinary student who will assist in studies to use molecular protocols to detect STDs in wild ape populations during summer 2012.  Erin will be working with Julie Rushmore in the lab as part of the Georgia Veterinary Scholars Program

  • A new paper by postdoc Daniel Streicker in PLoS Pathogens shows that rabies virus evolves faster in tropical non-migratory bats relative to bat species from the temperate zone. To read the paper, click here.


Summer/Fall 2011

  • PhD student and NSF-graduate research fellow Alexa Fritzsche received a small grant for a research exchange through the NSF-funding Research Coordination Network in Ecoimmunology.  In June, Alexa travelled to Munster, Germany for 2 weeks to learn several stickleback immune assays from Dr. Joern Scharsack. 

  • In June 2011, Dr. Barbara Han was awarded a 3-year NIH Kirschstein NRSA fellowship to study the characteristics of zoonotic diseases at the University of Georgia.  Dr. Han will be based in the lab of Dr. John Drake, and will continue to collaborate with Altizer and others in the Odum School of Ecology.

  • Several lab members presented their work at the Annual meeting of the Ecological Society for America in Austin, TX, including Barbara Han, Becky Bartel, Shan Huang and Julie Rushmore.

  • Farewell to Dr. Becky Bartel, who concluded her NIH postdoctoral fellowship in October 2011, and started a job at the USFWS in the Outer Banks, NC.  Dr. Bartel will continue to collaborate with the lab in studying monarch-parasite dynamics in the near future.

  • Congratulations to Daniel Streicker, who defended his doctoral dissertation on November 21!  The title of Dr. Streicker’s thesis:  “Viral host shifts: ecological dynamics, cross-species transmission and host adaptation in bat rabies”  For a photo of Daniel and Sonia at Winter graduation, click here.

  • Congratulations to Shan Huang, who received the James L. Carmon Scholarship Award from the UGA graduate school.  This award is given annually to students who have used computers in innovative ways.

  • Graduate student Julie Rushmore received a US Fish and Wildlife Conservation Beyond Borders Grant, an ARCS Foundation Scholar Award, and was awarded "Best Talk" at Student Conference for Conservation Science in NYC!


Winter/Spring 2011

  • Welcome to the newest addition to the lab - Oscar Henry Davis! (proud parents: Sonia Altizer and Andy Davis)
  • A paper on animal migrations and infectious diseases, by Sonia Altizer, Barbara Han and Becky Bartel, is published in Science. To link to the article, click here. To view the press release, click here.
  • Five Altizer lab members give talks in the annual Graduate Student Symposium. To view the program, click here.
  • Daniel Streicker is featured in the Winter 2011 edition of the UGA Graduate School magazine. To view the article (on p. 28) click here.
  • Congratulations to undergraduate Malavika Rajeev, who won top prize in the poster competition at the annual GSS.
  • PhD students Julie Rushmore and Alexa Fritzsche win top prizes for their talks in the annual GSS.


Fall 2010

  • Welcome to undergraduates Megan Weathers and Amy Wright, who will assist with monarch butterfly research in the lab.
  • The Altizer lab participated in the 2010 Insectival at the Georgia State Botanical Gardens in September 2010. To view photos from the event, click here.
  • Welcome back to Julie Rushmore, who returned from 10 months of field work in Uganda, and Daniel Streicker, who returned from 4 months of field work in Peru.
  • On Nov 7, the National Geographic Channel will air the first in a series of "Great Migrations" episodes.Our lab hosted a film crew from National Geographic in June 2009 to obtain footage of all monarch life stages for the first part of this series. To view pictures of the filming, click here. To view information about the series, click here.
  • PhD student Daniel Streicker is featured in the UGA Red & Black discussing recent work on vampire bats in Peru. To view the article, click here.
  • On October 26, Dana Hawley visited the Odum School and Altizer lab to present a research seminar on house finch conjuntivitis
  • On Nov 3-4, Rick Ostfeld visited UGA to present 2 seminars on climate change and disease, and biodiversity and emerging diseases.
  • Welcome to Vanessa Ezenwa, who recently moved from the University of Montana to the Odum School of Ecology!


Summer 2010

  • A research proposal on vampire bat rabies and land use change in Peru, written by Daniel Streicker, Sonia Altizer, Pej Rohani and Chuck Rupprecht, was recommended for funding by the National Science Foundation.
  • Congratulations to PhD student Jamie Winternitz, who recieved an AWIS research grant for her PhD work on parasites in montane voles.
  • Congratulations to PhD student Julie Rushmore, who recieved an ARCS Foundation Fellowship and Global Impact Award to support her graduate studies during 2010-11.
  • A new paper (and cover article!) in Science by PhD student Daniel Streicker focuses on cross-species transmission of rabies in North American bats. [link]
  • Welcome to undergraduate Malvika Duphare, who will assist with monarch-parasite research projects this summer, together with undergraduates Adam Haviland and Malavika Rajeev.
  • Good luck to Samantha Burton, who will start a full-time research position in the lab of Julie Moore at UGA in June 2010. Samantha has coordinated project MonarchHealth for the past 3 years!
  • We are excited to welcome incoming graduate students Dara Satterfield (through the Interdisciplinary Life Sciences program) and Alexa Fritzsche (through the Ecology PhD program). Both will start their PhD studies in Fall 2010.
  • Lab member Mike Maudsley and his father, lepidopterist Jim Maudsley, sampled monarchs and their parasites in Costa Rica in July 2010, at the UGA San Luis Ecolodge.


Spring 2010

  • Congratulations to current ILS graduate student Sarah Sander, and incoming Ecology graduate student Alexa Fritzsche, who received 3-year NSF Predoctoral Fellowship training awards.
  • Undergraduate honors student Malavika Rajeev received a CURO (Cultivating Undergraduate Research Opportunties) fellowship from UGA to pursue summer research focused on effects of parasitism on monarch mating behavior. Malavika was also selected as the CURO student represententative to the UGA Alumni Association.
  • Graduate student Julie Rushmore received a 2-year training fellowship from the Morris Animal Foundation to continue her field, laboratory and modeling work on infectious diseases and great ape conservation for 2010-2012.

  • Graduate student Daniel Streicker received a UGA graduate school disseration completion fellowship for academic year 2010-11.
  • Graduate student Shan Huang received an Odum School of Ecology small grant to support her comparative research on mammalian infectious diseases and conservation.
  • Becky Bartel, Andy Davis and Sonia Altizer participated in an NCEAS working group on monarch migration from April 8-13. To learn more about this group, click here.
  • Sonia Altizer, Andy Davis and Mike Maudsley sampled wild monarchs in central Texas from April 1-4. To see photos from our trip, click here.


Winter 2010

  • Lab members Becky Bartel and Sarah Sander sampled wild monarchs for parasites on four islands in Hawaii in Jan 2010. Pictures of the field work are online here.

  • A new study published in the April 2010 issue of Evolution by Sonia Altizer and Andy Davis shows that migratory monarchs have larger, more elongated wings than monarchs from non-migratory populations. To view an article about this study in BBC news, click here.

  • Congratulations to Jamie Winternitz who received a National Geographic Society Young Explorer's Grant for her work on genetic variation and sexual selection on montane voles in January 2010.

  • Welcome to Sarah Sander, a graduate student in the Inderdisciplinary Life Sciences program who will complete a rotation project in the Altizer lab.
  • Welcome to undergraduates Malavika Rajeev and Ashton Griffin, who will help with research projects in the Altizer lab.


Fall 2009

  • Congratulations to Dr. Catherine Bradley on a successful thesis defense! Cat's final dissertation was approved by the graduate school in Dec 2009. Here is a picture of Sonia and Cat in a post-defense celebration.

  • Postdoc Becky Bartel and research technician Mike Maudsley conducted butterfly field work in Australia in Oct 2009. Pictures of fieldwork are online here.

  • Research technicians Mike Maudsley and Samantha Burton sampled migrating monarchs for parasites in Cape May, NJ in Oct 2009.

  • Graduate student Julie Rushmore recieved a 2-yr USFW great ape conservation fund grant to conduct field work in Uganda. Julie began her 10-month field season in Oct 2009. Her field blog with pictures and updates is online at
  • An NCEAS working group proposal was awarded to Sonia Altizer, Karen Oberhauser and Leslie Ries to focus on: Monarch butterflies as a model for understanding the spatiotemporal dynamics of migratory species and their response to environmental change. Our group will begin meeting in April 2010 in Santa Barbara, CA.
  • Welcome back to graduate student Daniel Streicker, who returned from 5 months of field work focused on vampire bat rabies in Peru, and to Jamie Winternitz, who returned from 3 months of field work focused on montane vole parasites in Colorado.
  • Sonia Altizer wins first prize for 'Traditional Chili' category in the annual ecology chili cookoff!


Summer 2009

  • UGA successfully hosted the 2009 Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Diseases workshops and conference from May 19-23. Click here to see the conference website and program. Heading up the steering committee were Sonia Altizer, Pej Rohani, Julie Rushmore and Nanda Dorea.
  • Christina Faust successfully defended her Masters thesis in June 2009. Congratulations, Christina!
  • UGA successfully hosted a working group meeting of 12 monarch butterfly experts to focus on monarch monitioring and conservation. This event was sponsored by the Comission for Environmental Cooperation, and was organized by Sonia Altizer and Andy Davis in June 2009 . A press release about the event is available here, and a copy of our final report is available here.
  • Mike Maudsley and undergraduate Jeff Shapiro travelled to Miami, FL to sample monarch butterflies in July 2009.
  • Welcome to undergraduate Melissa Brody, who is assisting with monarch-parasite experiments during summer 2009.
  • Our lab hosted a film crew from National Geographic in June 2009 to obtain footage of all monarch life stages for an upcoming TV series on Great Migrations. We can't wait to see the finished product! To view pictures of the filming, click here.
  • Lab postdocs Becky Bartel and Barbara Han participated in the 2009 Ecological Society of America conference in Albequerque, New Mexico.


Spring 2009

  • Graduate student Julie Rushmore received a Fullbright Fellowship to conduct field work in Uganda beginning in August 2009.
  • Undergraduate student Jean Chi presents her undergraduate honors project (on monarch immunity, flight and morphology) on April 6 at the annual CURO symposium. Jean also received a summer internship to work at the Wetlands Institute in Stone Harbor, NJ, and a scholarship from Erasmus Mundus to study conservation biology in Europe starting in Fall 2009.
  • Sonia Altizer and Mike Maudsley travelled to Texas to collect monarch eggs, larvae and adults in March 2009. Pictures of our trip can be seen here.
  • Becky Bartel and Mike Maudsley travelled to four Hawaiian islands for monarch butterfly-parasite field work in January 2009.
  • In January 2009, the lab welcomed Adam Haviland and Randy Singer, who are assisting postdocs Barbara Han and Patrick Stephens in updating our databases on parasites from wild ungulates.
  • Daniel Streicker participated in the 2009 workshop on molecular evolution in the Czech Republic in January 2009.
  • Congratulations to Christina Faust, who received a 2009 George J. Mitchell fellowship to study global health and immunology at the National University of Ireland.
  • Undergraduate Ernie Osburn received a fellowship to pursue PhD studies in the laboratory of Dr. Karen Lips at the University of Maryland, starting in Fall 2009.
  • PhD students Shan Huang, Julie Rushmore, and Jamie Winternitz presented talks at the 2009 Ecology Graduate Student Symposium. Congratulations to Julie for receiving a prize for the 'best talk on proposed research.'


Fall 2008

  • Sonia Altizer received a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), and participated in ceremonies at NSF and the White House on December 19. To view a photo of all recipients with former president Bush, click here.
  • A collaborative CDC-UGA seed grant was awarded to Daniel Streicker, Pej Rohani, Sonia Altizer and Charles Rupprecht to study anthropogenic factors affecting rabies virus epidemics in vampire bats.
  • Julie Rushmore received a primate conservation grant from the Margot Marsh Foundation to support her PhD work.
  • Welcome to Dr. Barbara Han, who received a 2-yr NSF postoctoral fellowship to study how host body size and allometric scaling of epidemiological parameters affects the dynamics of infectious diseases.
  • In September, the lab welcomed Dr. Rebecca (Becky) Bartel, who received a 3-yr NIH Ruth Kirschstein postdoctoral fellowship  to work on the ecological dynamics of the monarch-parasite interactions using a combination of mathematical models, spatial data analysis and experiments.  
  • Thanks to Donna Gast and Samantha Burton, who presented a workshop on Project MonarchHealth in September 2008 for the Georgia Butterfly Symposium at Callaway Gardens, Pine Mountain, VA.
  • Congratulations to PhD student Elizabeth Lindsey, who defended her doctoral dissertation on October 8!  The title of Elizabeth's thesis:  “Ecological determinants of host resistance to parasite infection in monarch butterflies”
  • Undergraduate student Kristal Richardson has begun working with graduate student Jamie Winternitz as part of an LSAMP-sponsored research project.
  • Undergraduate Margeaux Maerz recently started assisting with monarch butterfly research and the MonarchHealth citizen science project.
  • Welcome to undergraduate Jeff Shapiro, who began adding data to our database on carnivore infectious diseases under the supervision of graduate student Shan Huang.
  • In October, lab researcher Mike Maudsley and undergraduate Ernie Osburn travelled to Puerto Rico to conduct field work on monarch butterfly parasites.

Summer 2008

  • Several graduate students spent the summer engaged in field work abroad or in remote locations:

    Julie Rushmore traveled to Uganda and Rwanda to identify field sites and collaborators for research on infectious diseases in chimpanzees and other ape species.
    Jamie Winternitz spent the summer at Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory in  Gothic, Colorado chasing down elusive montane voles for a study of genetic diversity and parasite infections.
    Daniel Streicker  traveled by motor bike across Peru to capture vampire bats and sample them for rabies virus infections.
    Christina Faust visited several locations in China as part of a UGA-sponsored training program on invasive species in the US and China.
  • Undergrads in the Altizer lab participated in several summer courses and study-abroad programs:

    Ernie Osburn studied at the UGA-Costa Rica field station for Maymester 2008.
    Jean Chi travelled to Budapest and other parts of Europe for summer session I.
    Cecilia Nix took part in UGA’s study abroad program in Brazil.
    Samantha Burton participated in a marine mammal ecology course.
    JR McMillan studied organic farming practices in a course through the ecology program.
  • In June, Sonia Altizer taught a field course on wildlife disease ecology at Mountain Lake Biological Station in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, together with Amy Pedersen and Dana Hawley.  For a flyer of the course, click here, and to see our class photos, click here.  We had ‘the time of our lives’ and taught a fantastic group of students!

Spring 2008

  • A new study by former postdoc Jaap de Roode, Sonia Altizer and Andrew Yates on virulence evolution in monarch parasites is published in PNAS. To see a press release on this study, click here. This article was also highlighted as an Editor's Choice in Science.

  • Graduate students Julie Rushmore, Jamie Winternitz, Daniel Streicker, Shan Huang, and Christina Faust presented their research at the annual Ecology Graduate Student Symposium in January.

  • Mike Maudsley, Jamie Winternitz and Sonia Altizer participated in a 10-day trip to Mexico for field work on monarch butterflies in February 2008. We joined researchers Jaap de Roode and Rachel Rarick from Emory University, and were also joined by evolutionary biologist Jeff Smith (Indiana University) and writer Adam Federman ( New York). We visited four different monarch wintering colonies, survived a flat tire, cold weather and some very bumpy roads, and sampled over 1500 butterflies for parasites. Click here to view an online photo album from the trip.
  • The Altizer lab was featured in the Winter 2008 UGA research magazine - Click here to read the full article.
  • Undergraduate Jean Chi presented her research findings at the annual Graduate Student Symposium in January 2008, and at UGA's CURO undergraduate research symposium in March 2008.
  • Graduate student Daniel Streicker received a Young Explorer’s grant from the National Geographic Society to support his field work on vampire bat ecology, land use change and rabies virus dynamics. Daniel also received travel funds from the Latin American and Caribbean Studies Program at UGA for a collaborative project involving the role of vampire bats in Peruvian ecosystems.
  • Graduate student Julie Rushmore received a competitive travel grant from the UGA School of Veterinary Medicine to support her field work on primate behavior and infectious diseases in Uganda during summer 2008.
  • Congratulations to graduate student Jamie Winternitz, who received the Robert A. Sheldon Memorial Travel Award and the Dean Lindholm Memorial Travel Award from the Odum School of Ecology to support her field work in Colorado during summer 2008. Jamie also received an NIH training-grant fellowship from UGA’s Center for Tropical and Global Emerging Diseases under the guidance of Dr. Pej Rohani.
  • Sonia Altizer was promoted to the rank of Associate Professor at UGA.
  • Joint BS/MS student Christina Faust was named a 2008 Morris K. Udall Scholar, and a 2008 Harry S. Truman Scholar. Both awards carry funds to support postgraduate work in environmental science and policy.
  • Welcome back to undergraduate JR McMillan, who returned in May 2008 from a spring semester abroad in New Zealand and Australia.

    Fall 2007

  • Congratulations and good luck to former postdoc Jaap de Roode, who begins a faculty position at Emory University in January 2008. Click here to check out Jaap’s new lab webpages.

  • Welcome to undergraduate Cecilia Nix, who will assist PhD student Julie Rushmore in compiling data focused on previous studies of parasite infections in captive primates.

  • Welcome to Mike Maudsley, who joined the lab as a Research Technician III in November 2007. Mike obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Entomology from UGA in 2007, and has been studying butterflies for many years!

  • Welcome to undergraduate Ernie Osburn, who will assist with lab research projects, together with students Samantha Burton, Jean Chi and JR McMillan.

  • Sonia Altizer presented a talk at the Jacques Monod Conference in Roscoff, France in September 2007. This meeting focused on the Evolutionary Genetics of Host-Parasite Relationships and was organized by Dieter Ebert and Gabrielle Sorci.

  • Lab members Jean Chi, Samantha Burton and teacher Donna Gast organized a booth on project MonarchHealth for the annual Insectival at the Georgia State Botanical Gardens.

  • Sonia Altizer presented the keynote address for Georgia's first annual Butterfly Symposium held at the Fernbank Science Center in Atlanta.

  • Three new PhD students launched their graduate studies in August 2007: welcome to Julie Rushmore (BS Duke University ), Byron Ledbetter (BA University of Georgia), and Shan Huang (MS Imperial College, UK).

Summer 2007

  • The Altizer lab was featured in the UGA research magazine - Click here for the article.

  • Congratulations and good luck to UGA seniors Natalie Kolleda and Rachel Rarick, who graduated on May 11! To see photos of Rachel's graduation party, click here.

  • Welcome to undergraduates Samantha Burton and JR McMillan, who will assist with lab research projects during summer 2007.

  • Postdoc Jaap de Roode and graduate students Daniel Streicker and Jamie Winternitz participated in the 2007 Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Diseases workshop and conference at Cornell University in May 2007. 

  • Congratulations to postdoc Jaap de Roode, who accepted a faculty position at Emory University’s department of Biology, to begin in January 2007.
  • Check out Sonia Altizer on the Today Show segment for Meredith Viera’s “Animal Adventure” with monarch butterflies (aired May 16, 2007)

  • Welcome to Dr. Charles DeCurtis, who joined the lab as a Research Professional in May 2007. Charles obtained his PhD in 2002 from the Institute of Ecology, and most recently worked as director of science at the Nature Conservancy.

  • Congratulations to PhD student Catherine Bradley, who recieved the Margaret Nice Award from the American Ornithologists Union ($1500) for her project entitled “Linking avifaunal community assemblage to avian malaria lineage diversity and prevalence."

  • Congratulations to Jamie Winternitz, who recieved student grants from the Animal Behavior Society ($1000) and the Lewis and Clark Exploration Fund ($1400) to study sociality and infectious disease transmission in wild mammals, and to Daniel Streicker, who recieved a Graduate Research Travel Award from UGA's Latin American and Caribbean Studies Institute ($1550) and a Lewis and Clark Exploration Fund award ($4900) to support his studies of rabies virus ecology in vampire bats in Central America.

  • Sonia Altizer participated in a symposium at the July 2007 International Conference on the Biology of Butterflies, held in Rome, Italy. She also co-organized a symposium and presentation for the annual Ecological Society of America meeting in August 2007 in San Jose, CA.

Spring 2007

  • Several lab members participated in a week-long trip to Mexico for field work on monarch butterflies in January. We joined long-time monarch researcher Lincoln Brower, students from Virginia and UNAM, visited three different monarch wintering sites, and sampled over 1500 butterflies for parasites. Click here to view an online photo album from the trip.

  • PhD students Jamie Winternitz and Daniel Streicker, together with undergraduates Natalie Kolleda, Byron Ledbetter and Jean Chi, gave talks and posters as part of the 2007 Graduate Student Symposium.  Congratulations to Daniel who won top honors for the best graduate student talk, and to Jean and Natalie who won first and second prize respectively for the poster session.

  • Dr. Dieter Ebert presented a seminar in the Institute of Ecology on host-pathogen coevolution in metapopulations on Feb 27. Many thanks to him for a stimulating presentation and a lab discussion on the evolution of virulence.

  • Sonia Altizer was awarded an NSF Faculty Early Career Development Award (CAREER) for a proposal titled “Animal migrations and infectious disease dynamics: monarch butterflies as a global case study.”  Click here for a news release on the project and here for a project summary on NSF’s website. 

  • Research by Sonia Altizer and Jaap de Roode was featured in a news article in the Athens Banner-Herald on March 12, 2007.  Click here to view a copy of the article.

  • Congratulations to Daniel Streicker who was awarded an NSF predoctoral fellowship in March 2007! Also congratulations to Byron Ledbetter and Julie Rushmore who were awarded graduate fellowships from the University of Georgia to start their PhD studies this coming fall.

  • Dr. Lincoln Brower and Dr. Ottar Bjornstad presented seminars during April 2007 in the Institute of Ecology, focused on (1) monarch butterfly migration and (2) the spread and dynamics of gypsy moth populations.

  • Undergraduates Jean Chi, Rachel Rarick and Natalie Kolleda presented posters during the 2007 UGA CURO Student Symposium on April 9. Click here to see the student posters.

  • Findings from a research paper by Sonia Altizer and colleagues on parasites in threatened primates were featured in articles in Conservation Magazine and in New Scientist. To view a copy of the Conservation Magazine article, click here. To read the original paper, click here.

Fall 2006

  • The lab bid farewell to postdoc Amy Pedersen in November 2006. Amy moved on to a Royal Society postdoctoral position at the University of Sheffield in the UK. Click here to see the farewell photo, and here to view pictures from Amy’s goodbye party.

  • Welcome to Julie Rushmore, who will be working in the lab as a research technician. Julie graduated from Duke University and will be pursuing a DVM at UGA.

  • Jaap de Roode was featured in the UGA Research Magazine. The article, "Survivor: Piece of an Evolutionary Puzzle" appeared in the Fall 2006 issue. Click here to view a copy of the article.

  • Dr. Janis Antonovics presented a seminar in the Institute of Ecology on infectious diseases at habitat margins and also visited several of his former students in our lab. Many thanks to him for a stimulating presentation.

  • Students and monarch butterfly researchers participated in the 2006 Insectival at the State Botanical Gardens in Athens, hosting a booth to publicize the MonarchHealth citizen science project. The live caterpillars and butterflies were a hit with children and adults. Click here to view photos from the festival, or here to view an article reproduced from the Athens Banner-Herald.

  • Welcome to new PhD students Daniel Streicker and Jamie Winternitz! Daniel completed his undergraduate work at the University of Virginia, and has worked most recently at the CDC on the ecology and transmission of bat rabies. Jamie finished her bachelors degree at UCLA and has worked most recently studying marmot ecology and behavior at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory.

Summer 2006

  • Several Altizer and Rohani lab postdocs and graduate students presented their research findings at the annual Ecological Society of America meeting, including: Amy Pedersen, Catherine Bradley, Jaap de Roode, Helen Wearing, Dan Vasco, Matt Bonds, Marc Choisy, and Hanh Nguyen.

  • Baby girl Sophia Rae Rohani was born on August 24 to Pej and Rebecca!

  • Congratulations to graduate student Elizabeth Lindsey, who welcomed twins Lauren and Caleb in late July.

  • Jaap de Roode spearheaded a large experiment to examine the relationship between transmission and virulence of the monarch butterfly parasite, O. elektroscirrha
  • The first volunteer-collected parasite samples for the new MonarchHealth citizen science project were returned to our lab this month. Click here for more information about this project.

  • Several undergraduates have joined the lab to assist with summer research, including newcomers Maggie Horne, Jean Chi and Carmel Norman, and 'veterans' Rachel Rarick and Byron Ledbetter.

  • We were saddened to learn that a former undergraduate assistant and Emory University alumnus Zachary Baumann passed away suddenly on May 23. Zach worked with us for 3 consecutive summers and he will be greatly missed.

Spring 2006

  • Phase II lab was completed in May 2006, with facilities for monarch rearing, microscopy, molecular work and a biosafety cabinet. For pictures, see the facilities webpage.

  • Congratulations to Amy Pedersen on receiving two postdoctoral fellowship awards last month (including one from The Royal Society) to study pathogen evolution in insect hosts.

  • Altizer and Rohani lab members attend 4th annual Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Diseases meeting at Penn State University, where Wearing, Pedersen and de Roode presented talks.

  • A new book is released by Charlie Nunn and Sonia Altizer - Infectious Diseases in Primates: Behavior, Ecology and Evolution - as part of the Oxford Series in Ecology and Evolution from Oxford University Press. Click here for a press release on the book from UGA.

  • Amy and Sonia travel to Washington, D.C. for a meeting on "Infectious Diseases and Mammal Connservation" co-organized with Charlie Nunn and held at Conservation International.

  • Many monarch adults and larvae were captured during the spring migration through the Athens area in April and May.

  • Graduate student Cat Bradley, Susan Sanchez, Margie Lee and others collaborate on a songbird- Salmonella project and isolate their first positive bacterial sample from a Brown Thrasher in April.

  • In March we welcomed two guest speakers, Dr. Peter Daszak from the Consortium for Conservation Medicine, and Dr. Rosie Woodroffe from UC Davis, who presented seminars at the Institute of Ecology.

  • UGA kicks off its new Infectious Disease Ecology Initiative. For more information, click here.

  • In February, Dr. Andy Fenton visited the lab from the University of Liverpool, and Dr. Jonathan Davies visited from the University of Virginia.

  • Sonia travelled to the University of Montana and Washington State University to visit colleagues and present seminars.

  • In January, postdoc Jaap de Roode returned from a 2-week trip to Queensland, Australia that included many encounters with monarch butterflies.

  • In January, postdoc Amy Pedersen co-taught an undergraduate seminar course in Emerging Infectious Diseases at the University of Virginia.

Fall 2005

  • In December, Sonia Altizer and Andy Davis were invited speakers at a conference in San Louis Obispo, CA, on the population dynamics of the monarch butterfly. Over 100 people were in attendance, including monarch researchers from across Canada, the United States and Mexico. For a press release of the conference click here.

  • Congratulations to Jaap de Roode for having his recent paper highlighted on the American Naturalist homepage! The paper, entitled "Dynamics of multiple infection and within-host competition in genetically diverse malaria infections" was chosen as the journal's feature article for the month of November. Authors were Jacobus C. de Roode, Michelle E.H. Helinski, M. Ali Anwar, and Andrew F. Read. Click here to jump to the Am. Nat. homepage.

  • In November, the lab welcomed new postdoc, Amy Pedersen, a recent graduate from the University of Virginia, and an expert on host parasite dynamics.

  • Congratulations to Jaap de Roode for receiving a Marie Curie Fellowship for postdoctoral training from the European Union. The award will support 2 years of training at the University of Georgia followed by 1 year at the University of Edinburgh in the laboratory of Andrew Read.

  • Lab manager Andy Davis was accepted to the PhD program in the Warnell School of Forest Resources at the University of Georgia, where he will begin graduate studies in January.

  • Our lab has officially moved to the Institute of Ecology at UGA!

Summer 2005

  • Graduate student Elizabeth Lindsey was awarded an NSF-PRISM fellowship for the second year in a row. This award provides stipend support and training for science programs in K-12 education.

  • In July 2005, Sonia Altizer returned from co-teaching a month-long field course with Amy Pedersen at Mountain Lake Biological Station. See a picture of the class here.

  • Catherine Bradley, Sonia Altizer and collaborators at UGA and the CDC received a $48,000 year-long research grant from the Southeastern Center for Emerging Biologic Threats to study the ecology of zoonotic pathogens in wild songbirds around the metro-Atlanta area.

  • New study by Dr. Sonia Altizer and grad student, Cat Bradley, is highlighted as the Editor's Choice in the journal, Science!   See the article here.

  • For more news about monarch butterflies and their parasites, visit our new webpage