FSU Biology Professor Seeks Ticks for Study

Apr 17, 2019 3:15 PM

Frostburg State University biology students want ticks! Yes, that’s right – Dr. Rebekah Taylor, associate professor of biology at Frostburg State University asks that anyone who finds a tick send it to her with the specific location of where that tick was found.

Taylor is in search of ticks for her fall biology course. Instead of short-term biology lab work, students will take part in a larger, ongoing project to analyze ticks in the region for Lyme disease, an inflammatory disease caused by bacteria that are transmitted in deer ticks.

“Rather than have students do general lab work, I want them to take part in something real-world and applicable,” said Taylor. “We can really begin to have an impact on a growing problem.”

Once the ticks are analyzed for pathogens, Taylor wants to create an online map showing positive results for Lyme disease so that people can be especially cautious while living in or visiting those areas.

“Data shows that the spread of Lyme disease is significant and is moving south and west from its more traditional areas,” said Taylor. “That means that more and more people in Maryland are at risk for the disease.”

Ticks must be dead and securely taped to an index card with regular tape. Label the card with the date and approximate location where it was found and enclose it in a sealed plastic bag. Tick samples may be whole, partial or crushed. If a tick is still alive, it should be frozen for 24-plus hours before mailing. Mail tick samples to Dr. Rebekah Taylor, Frostburg State University, 101 Braddock Road, Frostburg, MD 21532.

“My hope is to make Frostburg State a central location of information about Lyme disease in this area, and our students can help us do that,” said Taylor. “As winters get warmer, more ticks survive, so we will continue to see more and more Lyme disease in the Mid-Atlantic area.”

For more information, contact Dr. Rebekah Taylor at 301-687-4355 or rtaylor@frostburg.edu.

Situated in the mountains of Allegany County, Frostburg State University is one of the 12 institutions of the University System of Maryland. FSU is a comprehensive, residential regional university and serves as an educational and cultural center for Western Maryland. For more information, visit the Frostburg State web site or the FSU Facebook page. Follow FSU on Twitter @frostburgstate.