Jamie Voyles Ph.D.

RESEARCH INTERESTS 

Disease Ecology,  Conservation Medicine     

Ecological Immunology, Pathophysiology

Emerging Infectious Disease, Evoluion of Virulence

 

In very general terms I am interested in biological processes that impact species diversity and evolution. Disease is one example of an important, although sometimes underestimated, driver in biological systems.  Specifically, my doctoral research centered on pathogenesis and differential  virulence in a fungal disease of amphibians called chytridiomycosis.  I focus on the mechanisms of mortality in this disease because it is implicated in worldwide amphibian declines.  The fungal pathogen that causes chytridiomycosis has the ability to spread rapidly though frog populations and to infect numerous, phylogenetically distict species, causing high levels of mortality.  These disease characteristics not only render chytridiomycosis especially difficult to respond to, but also present strong empirical evidence for disease-induced extinctions.  Although occasionally described as "catastrophic" or "tragic", the loss of amphibian biodiversity due to infectious disease also represents an opportunity to study the underpinnings of biological systems.

Research in disease dynamics demands scientific literacy on multiple levels, from microbial biology to organismal physiology to theoretical ecology.  Additionally, it requires a command of varied techniques and technical knowledge, from histology to biotelemetry to tent pitching in the field. It is this nexus of scientific expertise, technical knowledge, and hands-on experience that continues to draw me to this exciting and valuable research.


TEACHING AND PUBLIC OUTREACH

Along with upper level undergraduate courses, I have also been fortunate to teach basic biological concepts to grammar students and the general public. My favorite presentation is titled, "Frogs are important in the food web" where I give kids the opportunity to meet a frog face to face.

"I wanted to thank you again for  your visit.  Your first hand experience and discussion with the students made a big impact.  They talked a lot about the frog noises and which one they liked best.  Of course, seeing a real frog was fantastic." - Roxanne Steenburger, Claremont Primary School