(Blood, That Is) and Transmit Diseases, Too!  Dr. Mary Ann McDowell is an Associate Professor at the University of Notre Dame. Dr. Joao Pedra is an Associate Professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

McDowell studies the parasitic disease Leishmaniasis, which is transmitted tomcdowellhumans through the bite of a sandfly. Pedra studies Lyme disease and Anaplasmosis, which are bacterial diseases that are transmitted to humans through the bite of a tick. The sandfly and tick vectors play an essential role in the lifecycle of these human pathogens, and both McDowell’s and Pedra’s research is investigating the interaction of these pathogens with their vectors. A better understanding of vector biology may lead to novel means to control these diseases.

Drs. McDowell and Pedra discuss the possibility of controlling vector-borne disease by vaccines that target Pedra Joaopathogen transmission, the impact of global warming on vector-borne disease, and how teachers play an important role in inspiring the next generation of scientists.

The MicroCase for listeners to solve is about Adriana Wellington, a waitress at the Hitching Post who gets a mysterious disease while fulfilling her lifelong dream to see gorillas in the wild.




  • Karl Klose, Ph.D. (UTSA)
  • Dr. Mary Ann McDowell (University of Notre Dame)
  • Dr. Joao Pedra (University of Maryland School of Medicine)
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