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. student

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. student

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


Abigail Merrick
Research technician

Abbie is a Purdue graduate with a degree in Natural Resources and Environmental Science. She is currently earning her master's degree in the ESE program while working in the Searle lab. In the future, Abbie hopes to pursue a career furthering conservation efforts on Lake Michigan as an aquatic biologist.

B.S.: Purdue University


Mackenzie Chapman
Purdue senior

Mackenzie is investigating how the zooplankton community can influence disease risk in Daphnia.


Juliana Ilmain
Purdue senior

Juliana is testing how various biotic conditions affect the ability of an invasive Daphnia (D. lumholtzi) to invade new locations.


Prasanna Janakiraman
Purdue senior


David Prather
Purdue junior

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


Marin Bray
Purdue sophomore

Marin is working with Spencer to understand disease dynamics of amphibian communities in Indiana.


Brittany Farmer
Purdue sophomore


Laura Gustafson
Jefferson high school junior

Lab alumni


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

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

Liz Rosario. (Summer 2017) Senior at the University of Puerto Rico Humacao.

Maggie Wigren. (2015-2016) Working for the American Conservation Experience. Purdue honors thesis:"The effects of resource availability on reproduction, competition and disease susceptibility in a native and invasive zooplankton."