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Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory

Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory

Dr. Nathan Burkett-Cadena

Nathan Burkett-Cadena

Assistant Professor

Mosquito Ecology - Biology of Disease Hosts
nburkettcadena@ufl.edu

Vector-borne disease ecology is an interdisciplinary science that seeks to understand the combination of biological, geological and climatological factors that produce environments conducive to the amplification and spillover of vector-borne pathogens. The biology and ecology of vertebrate host animals (mainly birds and rodents) and vectors (mosquitoes, ticks, lice, fleas and others) have profound influence on the transmission of viruses and protozoans that impact humans as well as non-human animals. Contact between the vertebrate hosts and vectors are driven by their ecology (the microhabitats they inhabit, the time of day they forage, their host or prey preference) and the quantity of host-vector contacts is profoundly important in driving vector-borne disease transmission. Eastern equine encephalitis virus, for example, is a deadly mosquito-borne virus that replicates well in some birds, but not in others. However, being a competent host for the virus is only one factor determining whether or not a given bird species is important for virus transmission in nature. If a bird species that supports virus replication is "avoided" (not fed upon) by the mosquitoes in the area, then it contributes little to the spread of the virus. So why is one bird species avoided by mosquitoes, and another "preferred"? Some avoided birds actively defend against attacking mosquitoes. Others may nest or roost high above the height that the mosquitoes search for hosts. A major focus of my research is centered on investigating host-vector ecology: quantifying the relationships and determining why different species of host animals (birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians) are preferred or avoided by different vector species. The overarching goal is to understand how these interactions drive the transmission of vector-borne pathogens.

My research has focused on diverse vector-borne disease systems including river blindness, eastern equine encephalitis virus, West Nile virus, epizootic, Everglades virus and epizootic hemorrhagic disease virus. Current projects focus on ecology of eastern equine encephalitis virus, West Nile virus, epizootic, Everglades virus and epizootic hemorrhagic disease virus. Students and postdocs in my program receive training and experience in field techniques involving vectors and vertebrate hosts, laboratory techniques including morphological and molecular identification of vectors and hosts, and analysis if field and laboratory data.

Nathan Burkett-Cadena

Assistant Professor

Mosquito Ecology - Biology of Disease Hosts
nburkettcadena@ufl.edu

  • Ph.D., Entomology, Auburn University, 2010
  • M.S., Entomology, Auburn University, 2005
  • B.S., Biology, University of South Alabama, 2001

Nathan Burkett-Cadena

Assistant Professor

Mosquito Ecology - Biology of Disease Hosts
nburkettcadena@ufl.edu

Representative Publications

  • Rodríguez-Pérez MA, Adeleke MA, Burkett-Cadena ND, Garza-Hernández JA, Reyes-Villanueva F, Cupp EW, Toé L, Salinas-Carmona MC, Rodríguez-Ramírez AD, Katholi CR, Unnasch TR. Development of a novel trap for the collection of black flies of the Simulium ochraceum complex. PLoS One. 2013 Oct 7;8(10):e76814.
  • Burkett-Cadena N, Graham SP, Giovanetto LA. Resting environments of some Costa Rican mosquitoes. J Vector Ecol. 2013 Jun;38(1):12-9.
  • Estep LK, McClure CJ, Vander Kelen P, Burkett-Cadena ND, Sickerman S, Hernandez J, Jinright J, Hunt B, Lusk J, Hoover V, Armstrong K, Stark LM, Hill GE, Unnasch TR. Risk of exposure to eastern equine encephalomyelitis virus increases with the density of northern cardinals. PLoS One. 2013;8(2):e57879.
  • Bingham AM, Graham SP, Burkett-Cadena ND, White GS, Hassan HK, Unnasch TR. Detection of eastern equine encephalomyelitis virus RNA in North American snakes. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2012 Dec;87(6):1140-4.
  • Kelen PT, Downs JA, Burkett-Cadena ND, Ottendorfer CL, Hill K, Sickerman S, Hernandez J, Jinright J, Hunt B, Lusk J, Hoover V, Armstrong K, Unnasch RS, Stark LM, Unnasch TR. Habitat associations of eastern equine encephalitis transmission in Walton County Florida. J Med Entomol. 2012 May;49(3):746-56.
  • Estep LK, McClure CJ, Burkett-Cadena ND, Hassan HK, Unnasch TR, Hill GE. Developing models for the forage ratios of Culiseta melanura and Culex erraticus using species characteristics for avian hosts. J Med Entomol. 2012 Mar;49(2):378-87.
  • Burkett-Cadena ND, Hassan HK, Eubanks MD, Cupp EW, Unnasch TR. Winter severity predicts the timing of host shifts in the mosquito Culex erraticus. Biol Lett. 2012 Aug 23;8(4):567-9.
  • Burkett-Cadena ND, White GS, Eubanks MD, Unnasch TR. Winter biology of wetland mosquitoes at a focus of eastern equine encephalomyelitis virus transmission in Alabama, USA. J Med Entomol. 2011 Sep;48(5):967-73.
  • Burkett-Cadena ND. A wire-frame shelter for collecting resting mosquitoes. J Am Mosq Control Assoc. 2011 Jun;27(2):153-5.
  • Estep LK, McClure CJ, Burkett-Cadena ND, Hassan HK, Hicks TL, Unnasch TR, Hill GE. A multi-year study of mosquito feeding patterns on avian hosts in a southeastern focus of eastern equine encephalitis virus. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2011 May;84(5):718-26.
  • Gray KM, Burkett-Cadena ND, Eubanks MD, Unnasch TR. Crepuscular flight activity of Culex erraticus (Diptera: Culicidae). J Med Entomol. 2011 Mar;48(2):167-72.
  • Burkett-Cadena ND, McClure CJ, Ligon RA, Graham SP, Guyer C, Hill GE, Ditchkoff SS, Eubanks MD, Hassan HK, Unnasch TR. Host reproductive phenology drives seasonal patterns of host use in mosquitoes. PLoS One. 2011 Mar 7;6(3):e17681.
  • Oliveira A, Katholi CR, Burkett-Cadena N, Hassan HK, Kristensen S, Unnasch TR. Temporal analysis of feeding patterns of Culex erraticus in central Alabama. Vector Borne Zoonotic Dis. 2011 Apr;11(4):413-21.
  • Estep LK, Burkett-Cadena ND, Hill GE, Unnasch RS, Unnasch TR. Estimation of dispersal distances of Culex erraticus in a focus of eastern equine encephalitis virus in the southeastern United States. J Med Entomol. 2010 Nov;47(6):977-86.
  • Burkett-Cadena ND, Ligon RA, Liu M, Hassan HK, Hill GE, Eubanks MD, Unnasch TR. Vector-host interactions in avian nests: do mosquitoes prefer nestlings over adults? Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2010 Aug;83(2):395-9. doi: 10.4269/ajtmh.2010.10-0048.
  • Jacob BG, Burkett-Cadena ND, Luvall JC, Parcak SH, McClure CJ, Estep LK, Hill GE, Cupp EW, Novak RJ, Unnasch TR. Developing GIS-based eastern equine encephalitis vector-host models in Tuskegee, Alabama. Int J Health Geogr. 2010 Feb 24;9:12.
  • Graham SP, Hassan HK, Burkett-Cadena ND, Guyer C, Unnasch TR. Nestedness of ectoparasite-vertebrate host networks. PLoS One. 2009 Nov 18;4(11):e7873. doi:0.1371/journal.pone.0007873.
  • Ligon RA, Burkett-Cadena ND, Liu M, Hill GE, Hassan HK, Unnasch TR. Assessing mosquito feeding patterns on nestling and brooding adult birds using microsatellite markers. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2009 Sep;81(3):534-7.
  • Gray KM, Burkett-Cadena ND, Eubanks MD. Distribution expansion of Culex coronator in Alabama. J Am Mosq Control Assoc. 2008 Dec;24(4):585-7.
  • Burkett-Cadena ND, Graham SP, Hassan HK, Guyer C, Eubanks MD, Katholi CR, Unnasch TR. Blood feeding patterns of potential arbovirus vectors of the genus Culex targeting ectothermic hosts. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2008 Nov;79(5):809-15.
  • Burkett-Cadena ND, Mullen GR. Comparison of infusions of commercially available garden products for collection of container-breeding mosquitoes. J Am Mosq Control Assoc. 2008 Jun;24(2):236-43.
  • Burkett-Cadena ND, Eubanks MD, Unnasch TR. Preference of female mosquitoes for natural and artificial resting sites. J Am Mosq Control Assoc. 2008 Jun;24(2):228-35.
  • Burkett-Cadena ND, Mullen GR. Field comparison of Bermuda-hay infusion to infusions of emergent aquatic vegetation for collecting female mosquitoes. J Am Mosq Control Assoc. 2007 Jun;23(2):117-23.
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Barry Alto

Associate Professor

Mosquito Ecology - Disdease Transmission
bwalto@ufl.edu
Appointments, Awards, and Professional Service:
  • 2016-present, Editorial Board, Entomological Society of America (Environmental Entomology).
  • 2015-present, Board of Directors (Member-at-Large), Florida Mosquito Control Association.
  • 2014, Richard Jones Outstanding New Faculty Research Award, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida.
  • 2011-2014, Editorial Board (served as chair in 2014), Entomological Society of America (Journal of Medical Entomology).
  • 2011-2014, Faculty Assembly representative, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida.
  • 2014-present, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Faculty Research Advisory Group, University of Florida.