Sabrina McNew

Postdoctoral Fellow

Expertise

Disease Ecology • Evolution • Tropical Biology

I am a postdoc interested in the ways in which parasites and pathogens can affect the behavior, fitness, and ultimately, the evolution of their hosts. During my graduate work at the University of Utah, I studied the effects of an introduced parasitic fly, Philornis downsi, on Galápagos Mockingbirds. Relatively recent parasite introductions to island systems, such as P. downsi in the Galápagos, provide an opportunity to understand how naive hosts respond to emerging threats.

As a Rose Postdoctoral Fellow, I am incorporating genomic approaches to continue studying the effects of introduced parasites on Galápagos birds. In particular, I am interested in the molecular basis of susceptibility to avian pox in Galápagos finches. By investigating the genetic and epigenetic correlates of avian pox infections, I hope to learn more about host defense and mechanisms that underlie rapid evolutionary responses to a changing environment.

I love Neotropical fieldwork and being involved in the communities where I work. I conduct my research in collaboration with the Charles Darwin Research Station and Galápagos National Park. With the help of these collaborators, I have developed outreach projects with the goal of expanding knowledge about invasive parasites in the Galápagos and techniques used to combat them. I hope to continue these projects, as well as incorporate other environmental education programs into my work at the Cornell Lab.

Education

Ph.D., University of Utah

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