The Elderd Lab

Summer 2019: Michael Garvey, Katie Costanza, Peter Issa, Zoran Allen, Scott Grimmell, Jason Janeaux, Bret Elderd, and Matthew Faldyn (Left to Right).

Dr. Bret Elderd

Associate Professor

Department of Biological Sciences

Louisiana State University

My research focuses on examining how disease outbreaks, community structure, and environmental variation influence population dynamics by combining field experiments and theoretical models. I'm particularly interested in:

•  Host-pathogen interactions

•  Variability within and between populations in disease transmission

•  Population viability and rare species management

If you're interested in joining my research group, please email me. I'm seeking graduate students and post-docs to work on projects involving either population or community ecology. In particular, I take a quantitative approach to ecological questions and would require that my students have some interest in mathematical ecology/modeling. While students may work on projects closely affiliated with my research, I encourage them to seek out their own research identity.

Bret Elderd Photo


Forrest Dillemuth (2013-2017)

Forrest studied the effects of climate change on host-pathogen interactions using an insect host and a species-specific baculovirus.  In this system, the host must consume the virus to become infected. The host also consumes the leaf tissue on which the virus resides.  He also worked on a number of other project including: 1) the effects of plant genetic diversity on host-pathogen transmission dynamics in this tri-trophic system; and 2) interactions between cannibalism and disease transmission.

Graduate Students

Scott Grimmell

Scott is interested in how the honeybee microbiome dictates the health and disease resistance of honeybee colonies.

Jason Janeaux

Jason is interested in disease transmission across sexual contact networks.

Undergraduate Summer Assistants

Past Lab Members

Post-doctoral Researchers

Miquel Acevedo (2013-2014)

Miguel worked on constructing mechanistic models of disease transmission.  His work focused on examining the influence of plant defenses on diffusion rates of fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) larvae.  He also conducted a meta-analysis of the virulence-transmission tradeoff and used Bayesian techniques to fit data to epidemic models.  Currently, Miguel is an assistant professor at the University of Florida.  

Miguel's Web Page

James Reilly (2009-2011)

James worked on a number of different projects related to epizootic dynamics.  He developed a model examining the use of baculoviruses as a biocontrol agent and how it affects gypsy moth population dynamics.  The field component of his work examined how climate change will affect host-pathogen interactions.  Currently, James is a post-doctoral researcher with Rachael Winfree at Rutgers University.

Maynard Milks (2009-2011)

Maynard examined how plant induced defenses and systemic acquired responses affected baculovirus disease transmission in the cabbage looper (Trichoplusia ni).  Currently, Maynard is working on baculovirus dynamics in British Columbia.

Undergraduate Summer Assistants

Matthew Faldyn (2013-2019), Ph.D.

Matt is currently a Visting Assitant Professor at Claremont College.

Olivia Barry (2014)

Olivia is pursuing her Bachelors degree in Renewable and Natural Resources at LSU.

Graduate Students

Kyle McCauley (2009-2011)

Kyle received a Masters in Epidemiology at the University of Texas at Houston.  He currently is working as program coordinator at the University of Texas at Houston Health Science Center.

William Vial (2010-2012)

William is currently pursuing his M.D. at Tulane University.

Kacie Dillon (2010-2011)

Kacie is currently pursuing her M.D. at LSU-Shreveport.

Ben Van Allen (2014-2016)

Ben’s work focused on various aspects of population and disease dynamics.  He examined how a tri-trophic interaction between a pathogen, an herbivore host, and a plant on which the host feeds affects the spatial spread of the pathogen in the environment. Ben also investigated how cannibalism affects disease transmission in the same insect host-pathogen system.  Currently, Ben is a post-doctoral researcher at the University of California, San Diego.

Ben's Web Page

Zoran Allen, Katie Costanza, and Peter Issa.

Past Lab Photos

David Clark (2014-2016)

David is pursuing a Masters degree with Miguel Acevedo at the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras.

Logan Chapman (2015)

Logan is pursuing his Bachelors from LSU.

Laura Syori (2015)

Laura is pursuing her Bachelors from Southern University.

Aaron Miller (2015)

Aaron is pursuing his Bachelors from LSU.

McCayn McDaniel (2015)

McCayn is pursuing her Bachelors from LSU.

Michael Fitzpatrick (2016)

Michael is pursuing his Bachelors from LSU.

Jack Miller (2016)

Jack is pursuing his Bachelors from LSU.

Tatum Lyles (2016)

Tatum graduated from LSU and is working at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Ryan Riley (2016)

Ryan is pursuing his Bachelors from LSU.

Post-doctoral Researchers

Michael Garvey

Michael received his Ph.D. in Entomology at Purdue University in May of 2018 prior to joining the Elderd Lab. His dissertation research focused on tritrophic interactions, examining how plant defenses effect insect susceptibility to parasitoids. He is excited to expand his current knowledge on insect-parasite interactions by conducting research on virus infections in Spodoptera spp., assessing how plant defenses influence susceptibility to pathogens at different landscape scales.

Michael Garvey Photo

Elderd Lab Group

The People

Elderd Lab Group Photo 2019

Andrew Flick (2012-2019), Ph.D.

Andrew is currently working on agricultural systems at the University of Wisconsin.

Adriana Dantin (2009-2012), Masters of Natural Science

Adriana is currently working with BioMedical Solutions.