The Pietri Lab is located at the University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine. We are broadly focused on understanding the complex relationships between microbes and their insect hosts from the organismal to the molecular level. Our work lies primarily at the intersection of medical and urban entomology. That is, we are interested primarily in insects and arthropods that impact health in human habitats. Blood-feeding arthropods such as mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, and lice, are capable of transmitting a number of human pathogens during the feeding process. Additionally, urban environments can harbor other hazardous pests, such as bed bugs and cockroaches, that are understated contributors to chronic and allergic disease. The associations between insects and microbes encompass not only human pathogens, but also symbiotic bacteria that are vital to the biology of their hosts, as well as entomopathogens that cause insect-specific disease. By studying how insects interact with these diverse sets of microorganisms, we believe we can provide unique insight into the comparative function of host-microbe relationships while contributing to the development of novel biological and chemical interventions to reduce the burden of insects and insect-borne infections on global public health.
Lab News: Lab on Twitter:
-May 2020: Our latest paper has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Medical Entomology!
Feb 2020: Our latest paper has been accepted for publication in Parasite!
Jan 2020: The lab has been awarded a 1-year grant from the Lyme Disease Association to investigate tick-borne pathogens in ticks from South Dakota!
Nov 2019: Our latest paper has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Parasitology!
Aug 2019: The lab has been awarded a 3-year grant from the Department of Defense Armed Forces Pest Management Board to study bacterial infections in bed bugs!