Searle Lab

Aquatic disease ecology at Purdue University

Welcome to the Searle Lab website!

Our lab studies infectious disease ecology in freshwater systems. We use a combination of observational, experimental, and modeling approaches to understand the effects of community structure and composition on infectious disease dynamics.


May 14, 2018

Summer has started and we have three new undergraduates joining the lab. Jeannine and Mariah will be studying Bd dynamics in Indiana while Kiersten will be travelling to Costa Rica to study endangered frog populations. Welcome to the lab!

May 9, 2018

We have a new technician joining the lab, Kacie Jonasen, who comes to us from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Welcome to the lab Kacie! 

May 4, 2018

Congratulations to our graduating seniors: Juliana Ilmain, Mackenzie Chapman, and Prasanna Janakiraman! Juliana will begin graduate school at NYU this fall while both Mackenzie and Prasanna will continue their education at Purdue. Best of luck to all of you!

April 10, 2018

Juliana, Mackenzie, and David presented the results from their honors theses at the Purdue Undergraduate Research Conference.

Ilmain 2018 poster
Juliana presenting her poster titled “The impact of infectious disease on toxic effects in a freshwater zooplankton model”
Chapman 2018 poster
Mackenzie presenting her poster titled “Resource competition and its effects on disease dynamics in freshwater zooplankton”
Prather 2018 poster
David presenting his poster titled “Antibiotic interactions with parasite host dynamics in freshwater ecosystems”

March 24, 2018

Spencer and Marin presented the results of their research at the Indiana Academy of Sciences this weekend.

IAS 2018

Marin presenting her poster titled "Examining differences in anuran communities between man-made and natural wetlands in central Indiana"

IAS 2018b

Spencer giving his talk titled "Examining the fungal pathogen, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, in anurans during winter in Indiana"

March 3, 2018

Congratulations to Laura on winning the gold medal in the Animal Sciences category of the Lafayette Regional Science and Engineering Fair for her project titled "The effect of salinity and common hornwort (Ceratophyllum demersum) on Daphnia presence."

February 14, 2018

Hector is spending this semester surveying amphibians in Costa Rica. Here are some photos from his trip:

Water filterin

Filtering water to detect the presence of B. dendrobatidis from stream samples.


A critically endangered lowland robber frog.


A critically endangered Golfito robber frog.

environmental data

Collecting environmental data.


Swabbing frogs to detect B. dendrobatidis infection.

February 5, 2018

Our new lab t-shirts arrived! Thanks to Grace Sanabria for the awesome design! 


December 2, 2017

Photo from our end-of-semester lab party:

2017 lab holiday party

Top row (left to right): Spencer, Dr. Searle, Hector, Mackenzie, Prasanna, Juliana. Bottom row: Abbie, Marin, Brittany, Maggie. (Missing: David)

November 8, 2017

Congratulations to Spencer on receiving an Indiana Academy of Sciences grant! Spencer’s project is titled: “Interactions of amphibian overwintering strategies and infection of the fungal pathogen, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in Indiana amphibians.”

August 21, 2017

Fall semester has begun and we have two new undergraduates and one high school student joining the lab. Welcome to the lab, Laura, Brittany and Prasanna!

July 28, 2017

Congratulations to Liz on completing her summer REU project. Liz presented a talk and poster titled "Comparison of frog call characteristics between natural and man-made habitats."


July 24, 2017

This week, Hector is attending the Latin American Congress of Herpetology in Quito, Ecuador. He is giving a talk titled "Rediscovery and monitoring of two critically endangered frogs in environmental refuges from chytridiomycosis."

Latin American Congress 2017

July 5, 2017

Congratulations and good luck to Baylie Hochstedler! Baylie recently completed her undergraduate honors thesis and graduated from Purdue with a degree in Biological Sciences. She will be starting a master’s program in Infectious Disease and Immunology at Loyola University this fall. Good luck Baylie!

Baylie poster

May 22, 2017

We have two new undergraduates joining us this summer. Liz Rosario is from the University of Puerto Rico and is funded through the NIH MARC program. Marin Bray is a Purdue student funded through the Summer Stays program. Both Liz and Marin will be working with Spencer to study the effects of habitat restoration on the health and abundance of amphibians in Tippecanoe County. Welcome to the lab, Liz and Marin!


May 8, 2017

It was a beautiful day to kick off the start of the summer. Baylie and Abbie went to Fairfields lakes to collect water for upcoming experiments.


May 6, 2017

Spencer partnered with NICHES Land Trust to organize a Bioblitz at the Weiler-Leopold Nature Preserve.

NICHES bioblitz

April 25, 2017

Congratulations to Baylie on earning a McAtee award! The McAtee fund was originally established by Mary Frances McAtee to provide Purdue undergraduates with research experience in ecology. Baylie will be using her award to fund her research in the lab this summer.

Older News