Behavioral Drivers of Disease (Spring semesters, odd years)
This course aims to introduce students to the ways in which host behavior can influence infection risk and transmission potential of parasites. We will investigate how host behavior influences disease, how parasites can manipulate host behavior, and how host-parasite interactions are studied across levels of biological organization. We will cover diseases of wildlife, domesticated animals, and humans, and will use an integrative perspective on how human diseases are connected to wildlife and the environment.
Introduction to Animal Behavior Online (Fall semesters, odd years)
What do animals do and why do they do it? From physiological mechanisms to ecological consequences and evolutionary dynamics. This online course introduces students to the study of animal behavior with an active and problem-based learning approaches. Below, you can see some example of videos where we introduce students to ongoing animal behavior research in our lab. This course was designed by Stefanie Gazda.
Foundation of Biology Special Interest Lab: Host-Microbe Interactions
An HHMI-funded lab course at the University of Pittsburgh for incoming first-year students to familiarize themselves with the scientific method. We focused on host-microbe interactions in spiders, and published our work at the end of the semester in the journal Current Zoology with 20 undergraduate coauthors! Click the thumbnail to the right for a link to a PDF of the paper (Parks et al 2017).
Foundations of Biology Specialty Lab focusing on host-microbe interactions. Here, students are exposing spiders to field-collected cuticular bacteria to test for relationships between increased bacterial load and host behavior.