Members

 

Principal Investigator

Professor Harrington is interested in the biology, ecology and behavior of disease vectors; global health and epidemiology. She is the Director of the CDC Northeast Regional Center for Excellence in Vector Borne Diseases. Harrington offers courses in Medical and Veterinary Entomology (ENTOM 3520), a non-majors course Plagues and People (BIO&SOC/ ENTOM 2100) and teaches the malaria module of Introduction to Global Health (NS 2060). She advises and mentors undergraduate and graduate students in the areas of entomology, ecology and evolutionary biology, veterinary medicine, bio-mathematics, comparative biomedical science, animal science, and biology and society.

Post-Graduate Researchers

AlexAlexandra Amaro joined the lab in January 2016. She earned her PhD at Cornell in Biochemistry, Cell, and Molecular biology in 2009 focused on the cellular cytoskeleton during mitosis. She continued expanding her experience in a virology lab, a biotechnology company for which her work contributed to a patent for a therapeutic approach to treat Huntington’s Disease, and a lab interested in RNA processing in the chloroplast of plants and algae. With a longstanding interest in virology (the biotechnology company also acted as a partner in development of field diagnostic kits used for Lassa Fever in Africa), she is excited to come to the Harrington lab to work on the vector for Dengue, Yellow Fever, and other viral diseases. Her focus in the lab is on validating candidate seminal fluid proteins in mosquito using CRISPR/Cas9 technology. Outside of lab, Alex enjoys walking the trails of the local parks, dancing, and travel.
Garrett League joined the lab in May 2017 upon completing his PhD in Biological Sciences at Vanderbilt University. His dissertation work focused on larval and adult stage immune and circulatory physiology in the malaria mosquito, Anopheles gambiae. Garrett is interested in all things mosquitoes, particularly questions related to development, reproduction, and immunity, and will be exploring these and related topics for his work on mating behavior and seminal fluid proteins in the lab. In his downtime, Garrett enjoys hiking, writing, art, and fiddling around on his guitar.

 

 


James Burtis joined the lab in June 2018 after completing his PhD in Natural Resources at Cornell University. His dissertation focused on factors affecting the off-host survival and body condition of Ixodes scapularis under field conditions. James is excited for the opportunity to expand his knowledge base and work with mosquitoes in addition to ticks. His postdoctoral research focuses on the incidence and mechanisms of pesticide resistance for mosquitoes and ticks throughout the northeastern United States. He addresses these questions working in collaboration with many researchers within the NEVBD network. When not working James likes to hike, take apart old computers, and cook.

Research and Program Support


Sylvie Pitcher joined the Harrington Lab in January 2009. She primarily works as a lab manager for the Harrington lab, but enjoys being part of the numerous experiments that go on in the lab. When she isn’t working Sylvie enjoys spending time with her three children, and wonderful husband just enjoying life.

 

 

 


Elisabeth (Lisa) Martin joined the  Harrington lab as a technician in June of 2019. She provides support for day-to-day lab operations, as well as some ongoing research projects. She graduated from SUNY Binghamton with a BS in Biochemistry, and has been an Ithacan since 2015. She is interested in research-backed solutions for public health problems. When she’s not hanging out with mosquitoes, Lisa enjoys cooking/eating, talking politics, and spending quality time with cool cats (both human and feline).

 

 

Joe with a bat

My name is Joseph Poggi and I have been a lab technician in the Harrington Lab since June 2019. I graduated with a B.S. in Wildlife and Conservation Biology from the University of New Hampshire in May of 2018. Since graduating, I have worked in the northeast on a variety of research projects such as moose/winter ticks (D. albipictis), rodents/black-legged ticks (I. scapularis) and little brown bats/white nose syndrome (G. destructans). These experiences have shaped my career and interest in disease vectors and their ecology. My work in the Harrington lab pertains to the NEVBD’s mosquito and tick resistance projects as well as our tick bite prevention outreach program. I am most excited to be able to practice microscopy, identifying mosquito and ticks that we collect in the field, and to play a role in tick bite prevention outreach. When I am not in the lab I enjoy playing, writing and recording music with friends, and training for/ competing in road races.

 


 Emily Mader joined the Harrington lab in July 2017, as the Program Manager for the Northeast Regional Center for Excellence in Vector-Borne Diseases. She earned her Master of Public Health and Master of Public Policy degrees from the University of Utah in 2013. Prior to joining the Harrington lab, Emily worked in chronic disease prevention and quality of care in the primary care setting. In her spare time, Emily enjoys cycling, xc skiing, traveling, and hanging out with her husband and cat.

Graduate Students

 

TalyaTalya Shragai joined the lab in August 2015. A native of Berkeley, California, she is fascinated by the intersection of anthropogenic change and vector biology. In 2014 she earned her B.S. in biology and B.A. in international development studies from UCLA. Since graduating she has worked on several projects including research on climate change and chipmunk behavior in Yosemite, CA and a study of waterbird response to human impact in Bahía de Kino, Mexico. Her work in Dr. Harrington’s lab will focus on the invasive vector mosquito Aedes albopictus and identifying the factors that make its invasion successful. In her free time Talya enjoys perfecting her chocolate chip cookie recipe, re-watching Arrested Development, and spending as much time outdoors as possible.


Kara Fikrig joined the lab in August of 2017. She is interested in the ways in which the ecology of Aedes aegypti and Ae. albopictus can inform public health interventions. Her interest in insects began as a child, but was solidified as an undergraduate at Yale University while working towards her BS in ecology and evolutionary biology. Kara spent one summer studying beetle natural history in Panama. Thereafter, she decided to specify in medical entomology, leading her to study Ae. aegypti the following two summers in Dominica and then in Australia. In an effort to ensure that her scientific questions remain relevant to human health, she completed a Masters of Public Health in epidemiology of microbial diseases as a part of a joint BS/MPH program at Yale. In her free time, Kara enjoys riding horses, playing polo and soccer, and hiking with her adopted mutt from Argentina
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Erin Hassett joined the lab in the fall of 2018. She spent her undergraduate career exploring the way human health is impacted by environmental factors. Erin discovered the importance of medical entomology during her training and work experience at the Tennessee Department of Health Vector-Borne Disease Program where she became proficient in both laboratory and insectary techniques. Erin led investigations of pesticide resistance for the eastern Tennessee region. Additionally, she managed hatching and rearing of Aedes and Culex mosquitoes as well as assisted with environmental collection of adult mosquitoes, identification of mosquito species and molecular identification of arboviruses. Her research interests include understanding population dynamics of vector-borne disease and searching for methods of prevention, management, and control for both disease and vectors. Erin loves long distance backpacking trips, traveling, art, outdoor recreation, tea shops, and her cat.
 

Phurchhoki Sherpa earned her BSc. in Environmental Studies from Colby-Sawyer College, NH. Even though she spent most of her childhood in Kathmandu, she is from the Himalayas of Nepal. Being a part of projects that studied ‘transfer of Mercury, by emergent insects, from aquatic to terrestrial ecosystems’ and ‘flat flies as potential vector in transferring West Nile virus in raptors (targeting Cooper’s Hawk)’ got her fascinated in the impacts caused by the ‘little creatures.’ And, a summer work at an Insect Control District lab, in VT (where she collected and identified mosquito samples), opened up a whole new horizon of information for Phurchhoki and challenged what she knew about insects that have profound impact on people’s health. Now (through classes and working in Harrington lab) Phurchhoki hopes to gain in-depth knowledge and skills in mosquito ecology, biology, and vector control schemes/methods, which she wants to bring back to her home country, which is vulnerable and prone to myriads of mosquito-borne diseases. In her spare time she likes to read historical and thriller fictions, do botanical illustrations, and listen to wide variety of music.


Kate Thornburg joined the lab in fall of 2019. She did her B.A. at Mount Holyoke College where she studied ant behavior and supercolonies. After graduation she worked rearing Anopheles mosquitoes in a malaria lab where she was exposed to research involving mosquito behavior. Kate is interested in understanding mosquito ecology and behavior and how these factors impact disease transmission. In her spare time she likes to test out new baking recipes, reading, and trail running.

 

 

 

 


Lindsay Baxter joined the lab in August 2017 as a research technician and worked as a support staff on most projects being carried out in the lab. She completed her Bachelors of Science in Molecular and Microbiology at Portland State University in 2014. Lindsay is now pursuing a Master’s degree and is interested in working on applied research projects and enhancing public education regarding medical entomology.  As a West Coast native she seeks wide open spaces in her free time and she enjoys swimming, podcasting and travel.

 

 

 


Cierra Briggs joined the lab in the Fall of 2019 in pursuit of an MS in Vector-Borne Disease Biology. She is a native of Dallas, Texas, and graduated as a double major in Biomedical Sciences and Entomology from Texas A&M University in the Spring of 2019. While completing her Bachelor’s degree, Cierra worked as a student assistant in Dr. Gabriel Hamer’s infectious disease ecology laboratory. During this time, she became aware of issues related to arbovirus transmission along the Texas-Mexico border while setting mosquito traps in South Texas and conducting viral testing of collected mosquitoes. These experiences developed her interest in how human and animal interactions affect vector-borne disease transmission. Involvement on other projects lead to an interest in how disease transmission could be altered by viral coinfection in mosquitoes.  Current additional research interests include topics related to vector surveillance  and science communication.   When not studying or working, Cierra enjoys photography, exploring National and State Parks, and western style dancing.


Mervin Cuadera joined the lab in the fall of 2019. He earned his B.S. at the University of Maryland – College Park where he studied how host preference impacted the egg production of Culex pipiens, a vector of West Nile Virus with guidance from Dr. Megan Fritz. In his master’s program, Mervin is keen to discern the true economic impact of tick-borne diseases in the Northeast and understand the knowledge, attitudes, and practices regarding ticks and related illnesses among Northeasterners. In his free time, he likes to read non-fiction, make music and watch classic films.

 

 

Undergraduates

Bailey Willett joined the Harrington Lab in January 2019 following her work in Fall 2018 as a lab technician.  She is a senior from Huntington, Vermont. Bailey is double majoring in Microbiology and Entomology with a minor in Infectious Disease Biology. Her past research involved formulating neuraminidase influenza-A vaccines, Nipah viral entry and egress, acaricide efficacy on Northeast tick vectors. Currently in the lab, she is investigating the Aedes albopictus virome composition across all life stages. Bailey plans to pursue a Ph.D in entomology specifically in vector-pathogen interactions and arboviruses.  Outside the lab, she loves to read, cook, hike, and share her passion for insects through teaching.

 

 


Henry Goldsmith joined the Harrington Lab in the fall of 2018 after completing an exciting summer of field research.  Henry is majoring in Global and Public Health Sciences and will graduate in the spring of 2020.  After graduation, Henry hopes to pursue a career in healthcare or public health.  Outside of the Harrington la, he enjoys football, kayaking, and spending time with his family.

 

 



Peter Deckerman joined the lab in May 2019 and plans to graduate in the spring of 2022. He is majoring in Global and Public Health Science and minoring in Infection Disease. After he graduates, he hopes to make it into a MD/MPH program or a MD/PhD program so that he may pursue his passions of medicine, public health, and research. In his spare time, Peter enjoys skiing, volunteering, and ultimate frisbee.

 

 

 


Consuelo (Connie) Le joined the Harrington Lab in the fall of 2019 and plans to graduate in May 2022. She is majoring in Global and Public Health Sciences with a minor in Infectious Disease. Connie is furthering her research in vectors of disease not only with the Harrington Lab, but also by doing summer research on the public health impact of  infectious diseases in Tanzania. After graduation, she plans to attend medical school and work in the healthcare field. In her free time, she enjoys volunteering, traveling with friends, trying new foods, and writing and editing for various Cornell magazines.

 

 


Raksha S Krishnan joined the lab in the Fall of 2019 and plans on graduating in May of 2022. She is currently majoring in Neurobiology and Behavior, with minors in Global Health and Music. Raksha will be continuing her research journey not only in mosquito biology and mating here at the lab but also will be pursuing global health research in Mysore, India this summer, at the Swami Vivekananda Youth Scholars Program in collaboration with Cornell University. After graduating, Raksha plans on pursuing an MD/Ph.D. program, focusing on oncology, and hopes to help in using her knowledge in vector transmission to help those around the world in the prevention of vector-borne diseases. In her free time, Raksha enjoys singing with her acapella group and choir, assists as the President of the Carl L. Becker House, loves learning about the brain and neurological systems, reading, star-mapping, volunteering as the Vice President of the Cornell Center for Health Equity and as Co-President of the Society for Wellness, traveling and hanging out with friends, and writing for her blog. She also loves spending time with her family and composing music in her free time.

 


Priscilla Cruz joined the Harrington lab in the fall of 2019. She is a junior, triple majoring in Biological Sciences, Chemistry and Chemical Biology, and French. Coming from an immigrant family, her interest in vector-borne diseases developed from her own experiences seeing the effects of diseases such as Dengue and chikungunya in Nicaragua. After graduation, Priscilla hopes to attend medical school to pursue a career in either neurosurgery or infectious disease. Outside the lab, she enjoys playing piano, traveling, reading, and spending time with her family.

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