Research Description


At the broadest level, research conducted by my group is directed towards understanding vector-pathogen interactions and how these may be disrupted.  Our research has been funded by multiple sources, principally NIH, NSF, WHO, State of Wisconsin, CDC, and the University of Wisconsin (USDA-Hatch).

Current projects include:

Ecology, control and surveillance of West Nile virus in Wisconsin

West Nile virus first emerged in Wisconsin in 2002.  Graduate and undergraduate students in the lab work with city managers to map habitats that generate large numbers of vector mosquitoes, and to monitor infection rates in adults.  In addition, undergraduate and graduate students test mosquito control methods and home remedies that are marketed to the general public. These include topical repellents, sonic devices, area repellents (plants and candles), CO2-emitting traps, as well as common lore pertaining to mosquito attraction and control (vitamin B, garlic, bananas). The results of these tests and a summary of other scientific analyses are summarized here:

Sample publications include:

Dickinson K. and Paskewitz S.M.  Willingness to pay for mosquito avoidance in Madison Wisconsin.  Vector Borne and Zoonotic Diseases.  2012.  PMCID 22651384.

Hughes T., Irwin P., Hofmeister E., and Paskewitz S.M.  Occurrence of avian Plasmodium and West Nile virus in Culex spp. in Wisconsin.  Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association. 26:24-31. 2010.  PMCID 20402347

Irwin P. and Paskewitz S.M.  Investigation of fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas) as a biological control agent of Culex mosquitoes under laboratory and field conditions.  Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association. 25:301-309. 2009.

Ives, A. R. and Paskewitz S.M.  Testing “Vitamin B” as a Home Remedy Against Mosquitoes.  Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association  21:213-217. 2005.

Ecology and  control of ticks and tick-borne pathogens

Wisconsin is a hotspot for diseases transmitted by the blacklegged (“deer”) tick.  Current efforts are investigating the dynamics of tick populations and disease transmission in relation to deer density and small mammal communities in forests and urban/suburban environments of Wisconsin. 


Sample publications include:

Pritt B.S., Sloan L.M., Hoang Johnson D.K.,  Munderloh U.G., Paskewitz S.M., McElroy K., McFadden J., Binnicker M.,  Neitzel D., Liu G., Nicholson W., Nelson C.,  Franson J., Martin S.,  Cunningham S., Steward C.,  Bogumill K., Bjorgaard M., Davis J., McQuiston J.,  Warshauer D.,  Wilhelm M., Patel R., Trivedi V., and Eremeeva M..   Emergence of a new pathogenic Ehrlichia species, Wisconsin and Minnesota, 2009.  New England Journal of Medicine.  365:422-429.  2011.  PMCID 21812671

Guerra M.A., Stancil A., Walker, E.D., Jones C.J., Paskewitz S., Beck L., Bobo M.and Kitron U.  Habitat suitability for Ixodes scapularis ticks in the north-central U.S.: role of geology, vegetation and climate. Emerging Infectious Diseases  8:289-297. 2002.

Lee X, Hardy K, Johnson DH,and Paskewitz SM.  Hunter-killed deer surveillance to assess changes in the prevalence and distribution of Ixodes scapularis in Wisconsin.  Journal of Medical Entomology 50: 632-639. 2013.

Coyle D.R, Murphy M.W., Lee X., McGeehin M.A., Murphy R.J., Paskewitz S.M., and Raffa K.F.  Belowground herbivory initiates a trophic cascade that increases abundance of Lyme disease vectors.   Forest Ecology and Management 302: 354-362. 2013.