PhD Student, Zoology
2012 B.S. Biology, concentrated in Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation, NC State University
I study the evolutionary history of human and other mammal-associated Demodex (face) mites, as well as the general patterns found in the assemblage of associate species living on and around a broad range of mammal hosts.
Mites of the genus Demodex live on many, if not all, mammal species. The two described species of human-associated mites, D. folliculorum and D. brevis, live in the hair follicles and sebaceous glands of the face and across other various regions of the body. Currently, I study the prevalence, genetic diversity and evolutionary history of Demodex lineages, in relation to both human populations, as well as other mammalian hosts. In conjunction with this, I am beginning to explore the full diversity of arthropod and microbial communities associated with mammals and their homes.
Palopoli M, Fergus DJ, Minot S, Pei D, Simison B, Fernandez-Silva I, Thoemmes MS, Dunn RR, & Trautwein M (2015) Global divergence of the human follicle mite Demodex folliculorum: Persistent associations between host ancestry and mite lineages. PNAS 112(52): 15958–15963.
Thoemmes, MS, Fergus DJ, Urban J, Trautwein M, Dunn RR (2014). Ubiquity and diversity of human-associated Demodex mites. PLoS ONE 9(8): e106265.