Director, Citizen Science Program; Visiting Assistant Professor of Biology
Primary Academic Program: Citizen Science
Academic Program Affiliation(s): Biology
Amy received her B.S. from the University of Connecticut, with a double major in Pathobiology and Animal Science. She then earned an M.S. from the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, where her research focused on vector-borne parasites of birds. Upon graduation she applied this training in Hawaii, where avian malaria is driving native Hawaiian honeycreeper species to extinction. Returning to Connecticut, she earned her Ph.D. from Yale University. Amy’s postdoctoral training at Yale expanded upon her dissertation research, investigating the transmission biology of Trypanosoma brucei.
This parasite causes a fatal disease of humans and animals in sub-Saharan Africa. It is transmitted by the bite of the tsetse fly. No vaccines presently exist. Amy’s work focused on how the parasite residing in the fly becomes transmissible to the human host, and what happens to the parasite in the critical initial days after that transmission. This work also included the identification and testing of potential targets for the first vaccine for this disease. Further, through her collaborations both within and outside of the lab, Amy has investigated the impact of parasitism on bacterial symbionts residing in the fly as well as on the tsetse host transcriptome. Finally, recent work examined the role of fly tissues in bacterial and parasitic pathogen invasion of tsetse. At Bard since 2012.