Finding Ectoparasite Paradise - Will Dube

Published: April 6, 2017
Dube takes a careful measurement.

When I came to CU I chose EBIO because it was a major that allowed me to get prerequisites for medical school, while also pursuing my lifelong interests in ecology and evolution. In my second semester, I found myself volunteering in Dr. Safran’s lab helping study the evolution of sexually selected traits in barn swallows (Hirundo rustica).

As I gained experience, and showed my dedication to the lab, I was given more opportunities and responsibilities. I have been able to work on projects varying from designing an automated image analysis protocol to quantify the number of cells in thousands of images, to being part of the field crew collecting data and samples. In my time with them, I have also been able to dive more deeply into my specific interests. I have become very interested in disease and parasites. More specifically, how to predict frequency and severity of parasites and other diseases. I am now working on my honors thesis exploring the influences of abiotic and biotic factors on ectoparasite population growth.

I feel really lucky to have found a department with such a diverse range of course work, and research opportunities. Additionally, it has left me the flexibility to pursue medical school prerequisites, and even develop new interests such as epidemiology. I have really enjoyed this strong interdisciplinary approach.