Our Team

Our lab functions because of the hard work of student interns who work throughout each summer and often during the academic year as well.   If you’re interested in learning more about working on tickborne disease prevention projects at WCSU, click here.


Our Research Team 



Rayda Krell, Ph.D.  –  BITM Study Coordinator

Dr. Krell joined the tick lab in October 2016 as study coordinator for our new CDC-funded integrated tick management study.  She holds a PhD in entomology from Iowa State University and comes to WCSU with many years of pest management experience. We are so lucky to have her as part of our research team.  You can learn more about the backyard tick management study by clicking here.





2018 Student Interns


Brittany Schappach (WCSU Biology ’18)

Brittany has been a research assistant since May 2017, and this year is helping lead the summer Tick Crew.  Brittany recently graduated with her BA in Biology and is hoping to pursue an advanced degree focusing on medical entomology beginning next year.


Sandra Zapata Ramirez (WCSU Biology ’18)






Daniel Buser (WCSU Anthropology, ’18)

Daniel is a WCSU alum, but not a biologist!  He comes to us as a research assistant this year after graduating with his degree in anthropology.  Infected with Lyme disease at age 13, he has always been interested in learning more about tickborne disease.  He plans to pursue an advanced degree in public health.



Danielle Marcone (Quinnipiac Biology, ’21)




Tick lab alumni:  Barbara Campbell (Sociology), Vanele Dacosta (Biology), Melissa Dease (Biology), Melissa DiNino (Biology), Carina Doyle (NYU Biology), Payal Dudhedia (Biology), Karina Escobar (Biology), AmberJean Hansen (Biology), Socheata Lim (Biochemistry), Jake Lipinski (Biology), Kim Lockwood (Biology), Christopher Madden (Biology), Megan Morrow (Biology), Devin Norkowski (Psychology), Colin O’Brien (Biology), Bruna Oliveira (Biology), Dimitri Psaltos (Boston Univ. Biomedical Engineering), Jennifer Reid (Health Promotion), Chantal Ridlon (Biology), Esau Rojas (Biology), Kiran Singh-Smith (Barnard Coll. Environmental Sciences), Amanda Thompson (UNH Biology), Robert Toth III (Biology), Layra Valdez (Biochemistry), Rebecca Warren (Biology).

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Karen Thompson  – Student Intern (2011-2012), Laboratory Manager (2012-2018)

Karen worked as a student intern (WCSU Secondary Ed Biology ’12, SCSU MS Education ’18), and later oversaw lab operations part-time, while also balancing a busy career as a biology teacher at Staples High School and pursuing a master’s degree!  Karen always kept our daily projects on track and we were sad to see her go.  We wish Karen the best of luck as she pursues her EdD in the coming years!