Gardner receives $1.15 million grant to study Lyme disease
Dr. Allison Gardner, Assistant Professor of Vector Biology, received $1.15 million in grant funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative. She will lead an integrated natural and social science project on the impacts of forest management on Lyme disease transmission dynamics in Maine. The co-PIs are Carly Sponarski, Jessica Leahy, Anne Lichtenwalner, and Laura Kenefic. The team will conduct applied ecological research to understand the impact of timber harvesting on risk of exposure to tick-borne diseases, applied social science research to understand the economic, environmental, and production factors that influence private forest landowners’ decision-making processes related to land management and disease prevention. They will also develop practical recommendations to mitigate the impacts of climate change on disease transmission by ticks and develop education programs for students and forest workers. The ultimate goal of this project is to protect community health while sustaining a robust forest product supply chain.