Ferg Lab

People

Dr. Laura Ferguson

  • Position: Assistant Professor, Acadia University
  • Office: Room 335, Biology Building

I am an integrative biologist interested in how host-microbe interactions shape insect resilience in our changing world. I focus on both host-pathogen encounters as well as insect relationships with their microbiomes. Our lab has a particular interest in the winter biology and temperature-dependence of these interactions. Currently we are focused on mosquitoes and ticks, working towards understanding how their ability to resist and transmit disease will shift with climate change.

You can contact me at laura.ferguson@acadiau.ca

Dr. Luis Anholeto

  • Position: Postdoctoral fellow

As a cell and molecular biologist, I aim to find environmentally friendly solutions for managing arthropods of medical and veterinary importance, with a special focus on ticks. I apply techniques such as histology, histochemistry, laser scanning confocal microscopy and scanning and transmission electron microscopy to study the effects of synthetic and natural products on tick internal organs. As a member of Dr. Ferguson's lab since 2023, I have been involved in two main research projects: one on the identification of mosquito species, and another on investigating the acaricidal activity of an entomopathogenic fungus against ticks.

Nolan Boyd

  • Position: MSc Student

I joined Dr. Ferguson’s lab in 2023 to complete my Master’s thesis after graduating from Acadia university with a BSc in Environmental Science. Currently, I am collecting mosquito samples all around New Brunswick as part of our mosquito species monitoring project. I am interested in the overwintering habits of mosquitoes, specifically species overwintering in storm drain catchments. When I am not collecting mosquitoes, I am usually getting bit by them while hiking, flyfishing, or kayaking.

Gemma Rawson

  • Position: MSc Student

I am a graduate student in Dr. Ferguson’s lab. The mosquito team and I are currently monitoring mosquito species throughout New Brunswick, P.E.I., and Nova Scotia. I’m specifically interested in analyzing what arboviruses are present throughout our mosquito species in the Maritimes and their proximity to humans. I’m also passionate about entomology. In my free time you can often find me stopping randomly on sidewalks and hiking trails checking out our lovely insect friends.

Mia Lauzon

  • Position: MSc student

Hi everyone! I am a fourth-year Biology major at Acadia/Ferguson Lab tick wrangler. My Honours research focuses on how tick-borne pathogens, including the causative agent of Lyme disease (Borrelia burgdorferi), impact the winter behaviour and physiology of the black-legged tick, Ixodes scapularis. This work will help us understand how pathogens influence the black-legged tick’s ability to survive the winter and expand their ranges in Canada. I’m passionate about vector ecology, and am pursuing a Master’s degree with Dr. Ferguson in 2024!

Emily Bacon

  • Position: Honours Student

I’m a fourth year Biology major, minoring in Environmental Science here at Acadia! I’m currently completing my Honours under Dr. Laura Ferguson. My research project primarily revolves around field work collecting adult and larval mosquito samples across New Brunswick. I am focusing on quantifying the known vector species and testing for the presence of Dirofilaria immitis, commonly known as heart worm! I’m interested in agriculture and veterinary medicine with hopes to become a large animal veterinarian.

April Sharpe

  • Position: Honours Student

I am a 4th year biology student here at Acadia University who it currently completing my Honours in Dr. Ferguson’s lab. My research focuses on the cold tolerance of mosquito larvae and adults after the ingestion of microplastics. As such, you can often find me around town collecting mosquito larvae in the best stagnant water pools (please feel free to come say hi!)

Maddy Leblanc

  • Position: Research Topics student

Maddy is working on understanding how thermal variability in the winter impacts survival of Aedes japonicus eggs and cold tolerance of larvae in the spring

Aerin Hackett

  • Position: Research Topics student

Aerin is working on understanding how thermal variability in the winter impacts survival of Aedes japonicus eggs and cold tolerance of larvae in the spring

Emma McNeil

  • Position: Research Topics student

Emma is investigating whether spores produced by an entomopathogenic fungus at low temperatures are more virulent/cause increased mortality in mosquito larvae compared to fungus growing at higher temperatures

Lab Alumni

Emma Rand

  • Position: Research Technician, AAFC
  • Lab Position (former): MSc Student

Taylor Swanburg

  • Position: Molecular Biology Technician, Canadian Forestry Services
  • Lab position (former): MSc Student

Alina Rutherford

  • Position: soon-to-be BScH in the Shutler lab
  • Lab position (former): Field technician