Searle Lab

Aquatic disease ecology at Purdue University



Catherine Searle
Assistant Professor

B.A.: University of California - Berkeley

Ph.D.: Oregon State University

Postdoc: Georgia Tech, University of Michigan


Hector Zumbado-Ulate
Ph.D. candidate

Hector is interested in the effects of parasites on inter-specific competition. He is studying how parasites might mediate competition in amphibians, affecting the recovery of susceptible populations after epidemics.

B.S.: University of Costa Rica

M.S.: University of Costa Rica


Spencer Siddons
Ph.D. candidate

Spencer is interested in amphibian ecology, disease dynamics, and conservation. He plans to investigate the effects of environmental stressors on host infection risk and the pathogen themselves. Personal website:

B.S.: University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point

M.S.: University of South Dakota


Kacie Jonasen
Research technician

Kacie earned a B.S. in Zoology from Michigan State University and is working toward a M.S. in Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In the Searle lab, Kacie will continue her work with Daphnia, and hopes to incorporate amphibians in future projects. ​

B.S.: Michigan State University


David Prather
Purdue senior

David is studying the effects of antibiotics on disease susceptibilty in Daphnia.


Kiersten Nelson
Purdue senior

Kiersten is studying the conservation of amphibians in Costa Rica.


Mariah Burgmeier
Purdue senior

Mariah is studying the effects of salinity on infectious disease in amphibians.


Marin Bray
Purdue junior

Marin is studying disease dynamics of amphibian communities in Indiana.


Brittany Farmer
Purdue junior

Brittany is investigating how the genetic diversity of invasive species influences their success.

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Jeannine Toth
Purdue junior

Jeannine is studying disease dynamics of amphibian communities in Indiana.


Isabel Adarve
Visiting undergraduate student from EAFIT University in Colombia

Isa is studying the effects of leaf litter on growth of the amphibian chytrid fungus (Bd).

Lab alumni

Former technicians:

Abigail Merrick (2015-2018, M.S. student)

Former undergraduates:

Mackenzie Chapman. (2015-2018) Currently a graduate student at Purdue University. Undergraduate honors thesis: "Resource competition and its effect on disease dynamics in freshwater zooplankton populations." 

Baylie Hochstedler. (2016-2017) Currently a graduate student at Loyola University Chicago. Undergraduate honors thesis: "Effects of resources and parasites on competition between a native and invasive zooplankton."

Juliana Ilmain. (2017-2018) Currently a graduate student at New York University. Undergraduate honors thesis: "The impact of infectious disease on toxic effects in a freshwater zooplankton model."

Prasanna Janakiraman. (2017-2018) Currently a graduate student at Purdue University. 

Kaitlin O'Leary. (2014-2015) Currently a high school teacher for the Lower Kuskokwim School District.

Liz Rosario. (Summer 2017) Currently a senior at the University of Puerto Rico Humacao. REU project: "Comparison of frog call characteristics between natural and man-made habitats."

Maggie Wigren. (2015-2016) Currently a graduate student at Purdue University. Undergraduate honors thesis:"The effects of resource availability on reproduction, competition and disease susceptibility in a native and invasive zooplankton."