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We are a diverse group of scientists from Honduras, Puerto Rico, the United States, Mexico, and Brazil at different levels in our scientific careers, from early-stage principal investigator to undergraduate students. What we all have in common is an innate curiosity for science, three/four-legged creatures (a.k.a. ticks), and the pathogens they harbor.

Adela Oliva Chavez Ph.D.


Assistant professor in the Department of Entomology at Texas A&M University. Her interest focuses on the molecular host-pathogen and vector-pathogen interactions. She is interested in how vector-borne pathogens influence host and vector cellular responses, such as immune responses, cellular trafficking, and vesicle secretion. She is also interested in finding management alternatives to stop tick feeding and pathogen transmission in animal systems and in humans. She has published her research in several high impact journals, including Nature Communications, PNAS, PLoS Pathogens, and others. She has also contributed to a book chapter on “Protozoal and Rickettsial vaccines” in “Veterinary vaccines” by FAO and another on “Intracellular Pathogens II: Rickettsiales” in “The Way Forward: Improving Genetic Systems”. During her 3 years at Texas A&M University she has secured around $1M dollars in support of her research program as Principal Investigator (PI) and Co-Principal Investigator (Co-PI). For more information visit:

Charluz Arocho (Ph.D. student)


received her Bachelor of Animal Science with an associate degree in Pre-Veterinary Medicine from the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez in 2016. In 2019 she received the Master of Science in Entomology from Texas A&M. Her master thesis research was on the interaction between a systemic acaricide and immunological control of Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) microplus. Charluz serves as a research specialist at the Institute for Infectious Animal Diseases, assisting with field research for arthropod-borne diseases, specifically those focused on the Cattle Fever Tick portfolio in the Institute. She is currently a Ph.D. Candidate under Dr. Adela Oliva Chavez. Her research interest includes evaluating the effects of tick-pathogen-host interactions on the pathology of the disease. Charluz is also an avid traveler, insect collector, and hiker.

Stephanie Guzman Valencia (Ph.D. student)


I am interested in the role of genetic mechanisms such as DNA methylation and host-associated genetic differentiation (HAD) in tick populations and their role in vector borne diseases. Outside of the lab, I enjoy walking with my family, traveling, playing with colors, sharing a cup of coffee with friends and I love eating pastries.

Brenda Galvan (Ph.D. student)


Hi, my name is Brenda Galvan. I am a PhD student focused on understanding what roles microRNAs during tick feeding. I have dedicated my academic career to understanding vector-host interactions and how we can use this knowledge to help others. I love science, naps, and food:)

Cristina Harvey (undergraduate student)


I have work at the Chavez’ lab since 2021. I am a biomedical sciences major! I am premed, and my favorite color is pink. If I was a kitchen utensil, I would be a fork!

Sydney Orsborn (undergraduate student)


I am a junior animal science major, biomedical science minor pursuing a certification in public health entomology. My interests include research in veterinary medicine with an emphasis in parasitology and physiology of ruminant animals. My post collegiate goal is to become a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine with work in both large and small animal medicine in specialized surgery. 

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Carita Ribeiro (Visiting Scholar)


Bachelor’s degree in Biotechnology (2016) at Federal University of Goiás (UFG-Brazil) with emphasis in Health and Life Sciences. Master’s degree in biology of the Parasite-Host Relationship (2018) by UFG. Currently, registered as a PhD student in the Institute of Tropical Pathology and Public Health (Goiás, Brazil), and visiting research at Texas A&M University, investigating the biological basis concerning control of vectors of medical and veterinary importance, with emphasis in multiparticulated formulations of fungi as biological control agents, immune system and lipids of ticks of medical-veterinary importance, under supervision of Dra. Adela Oliva Chavez (TAMU) and Dr. Éverton Kort Kamp Fernandes (UFG). Also, Cárita Ribeiro-Silva is interested in invertebrate pathology, biological control of species of medical and veterinary relevance and biotechnological approaches in veterinary parasitology. I'm the crazy cat lady, I love coffee and my favorite color is blue. Who wants to be a princess when you can be a scientist?

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