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).
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.
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
Mark Gallardo joined the lab in the summer of 2020. Having earned his DVM from Cornell and practiced veterinary medicine for many years with a special interest in emergency and critical care, he is excited to be back in academia. During those years of practice he split his time between working as a veterinarian in the US and volunteering and traveling abroad, founding several humanitarian programs from Myanmar (Burma) to Ethiopia to Syria and Lebanon. While traveling he came into close contact with infectious disease (he caught malaria in Burkina Faso and again in Indonesia!) and he developed a keen interest in studying the host-pathogen interface. Upon starting his PhD in 2019 and rotating through the Harrington lab in the spring of 2020, the lab’s study of mosquitoes as disease vectors was a perfect fit for his interests. He is currently studying potential seminal fluid protein fertility genes in male Aedes aegypti mosquitoes using the CRISPR/Cas13a system as a functional analysis tool. As a former outdoor expedition backpacking instructor with an avid love of nature, he spends his free time in the wilderness as much as possible. He also enjoys maintaining his meditation practice, laughing, teaching, great coffee, running, and reading literature.
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.
Jamie Mangan joined the lab in the Fall of 2020. She is from Indiana and earned her BS in Human Biology from Indiana University in 2017. While at IU, she participated in One Health research of tourism and zoonoses in South Africa. After graduating from IU, she worked as the vector control and GIS coordinator at the Lake County Indiana Health Department. She in interested in a One Health approach to learning about disease vectors and transmission. In her spare time, Jamie enjoys hiking, cooking, and watching the Chicago Cubs.
Joe with a bat
Joseph Poggi started as a lab technician in the Harrington Lab in June 2019 before being accepted in the MS program in the Fall of 2020. He graduated with a B.S. in Wildlife and Conservation Biology from the University of New Hampshire in May of 2018. Since graduating, he has 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). As a technician in the Harrington lab, Joe worked on various projects testing mosquito and tick pesticide resistance as well as our tick bite prevention outreach program. When he’s not in the lab, Joe enjoy playing, writing and recording music with friends, and training for/ competing in road races.
Antonio Alvarado joined the lab in the Fall of 2020. He received his B.A. in Health, Behavior, and Society at the University of Rochester in May of 2020. His udergraduate studies primarily focused on how human behavior and cultural differences influence the transmission of infectious diseases, utilizing an anthropological approach to implement public health interventions. It wasn’t until an internship at the NYC Department of Health, while setting mosquito traps, tick dragging, and studying the Culex pipiens mosquitoes that thrived in specific NYC sewers, that I discovered the complex connection of arboviruses, vector arthropods, and human behavior. For instance, vector mosquitoes flourish in environments disturbed by humans and some even prefer human blood-meals. Antonio is now pursuing an MS in Vector-Borne Disease Biology to compliment his undergraduate studies. He is interested in how anthropogenic land use changes have contributed to the rise of emerging and re-emerging vector-borne diseases. Additionally, he is interested in enriching my expertise in GIS and spatial data analysis.
Nicole Foley joined the lab in the Fall of 2020. Nicole knew from the beginning that she was passionate about human, animal, and environmental health yet it was not until she began her career at Western Carolina University that she discovered the concept of One Health. At WCU Nicole earned a B.S. in Environmental Health which exposed her to the multidisciplinary field of protecting and improving human health. Nicole’s passion for vector borne diseases and how they play into this One Health triad began when she completed a summer internship with Forsyth County Public Health Department’s vector control unit conducting mosquito surveillance and public service requests. Following this experience, Nicole began working with Dr. Brian Byrd in the Western Carolina University Vector-Borne and Infectious Disease laboratory. Nicole hopes to apply her skills in a way to help improve and facilitate vector control for rural areas similar to where she grew up. In her free time Nicole likes to go hiking, reading dystopian books, stargazing and hanging out with her cat!