Michael Skvarla - Project leader
Dr. Skvarla is the director of the Insect Identification Laboratory at Penn State, which processes approximately 1,200 ID requests from private citizens, county extension offices, and pest control operators per year. Other current projects include surveying pollinators associated with black cherry. Past research has focused on aphid and mite taxonomy and systematics, insect survey methods in forest systems, and identification of wood-boring beetles and non-target insects collected by emerald ash borer survey traps.
Zoonotic diseases are on the rise due to many anthropogenic causes, and understanding the role of the arthropods associated with their transmission is key to protecting humans and other animals. Dr. Machtinger's interest in medical and veterinary entomology developed from her involvement in the agricultural and wildlife community. Along with studying arthropods, she is also an avid equestrian, and is a Certified Wildlife Biologist.
Karen is a Post-Doc in the Machtinger Lab. She combines her knowledge of entomology with public health to study the ecology of vector-borne diseases. Karen is also familiar with mosquito and tick field work/rearing, small and medium mammal sampling, avian sampling, and molecular work. Karen will be modeling habitats and looking at the spatial distribution of tick species and their associated diseases found in Pennsylvania.
Hannah is a PhD student in the Machtinger lab working on the Ecology of Mange in Pennsylvania black bear Populations. She hails from Pennsylvania and has recently graduated with a MSc in Environmental Toxicology from Texas Tech University. She has worked extensively with zoonotic and vector-borne diseases including Zika and Flavivirus surveillance, encephalitis complex surveillance, Feral Swine Disease surveillance, and large mammal tracking, trapping, baiting, radio telemetry, and necropsies.
Lab Research Technicians
Jesse is a Penn State graduate with a degree in Wildlife and Fisheries Science. He assists on many projects, including small mammal trapping, tick drag-netting, deer ked collection, and occasionally bear trapping. He also works on the website development and community outreach for various projects in and out of the lab.
Taylor joined the lab in Spring 2019 to work on tick screening of natural compounds. Taylor will also be assisting with small mammal trapping, bear den checks, fly rearing, and other essential projects.