Vector Biology

The focus of the Chaudhari laboratory is on the biology of arthropod vectors and their pathogens with the aim of identifying targets for controlling pathogen acquisition and transmission. Our research aims to uncover the significance of various physiological processes in arthropod vectors, including molting, metamorphosis, embryogenesis, and metabolism, and their effect on the acquisition and transmission of bacterial pathogens. In particular, we are interested in studying the I. scapularis tick, which transmits the Lyme disease pathogen Borrelia burgdorferi. Despite extensive study using insect model systems like Drosophila melanogaster and Tribolium castaneum, the impact of these processes on tick development remains poorly understood. Ticks differ physiologically from insects, yet the relationship between tick physiology and pathogen survival and transmission to mammalian hosts has not been fully explored. Our work aims to shed light on the role of tick vector physiology in the targeting of pathogens