The lab is part of the Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics , the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences and the departments of Entomology and Biology at Penn State. Much of the research driving the lab is at the intersection of disease & behavior: how and why do parasites manipulate host behavior and what is the role of behavior in reducing disease transmission?

We are committed to engaging with the public through open-access publications and media, using our work to enhance ant biocontrol and global food security, and through educational outreach to learners of all ages.



Recent News and Upcoming Events:

A New Addition to the Hughes Lab Team!

We proudly welcome Megan Wilkerson, an entomology graduate student who has decided to join our research team! Megan is passionate about farmer behavior and the agricultural impact of insects. She will soon begin eagerly pursuing the primary issues that plague the cocoa farmers of Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon and the Ivory Coast, which, together, form the region from which more than two thirds of the world’s cocoa is produced.[1] The source of much of the region’s plight is the symbiotic interaction between certain ant species within the genus Acropyga and mealybugs, a common agricultural pest. This relationship fosters the spread of two Theobroma cacao pathogens, Phytophthora and CSSV (Cacao Swollen-Shoot Virus). This is a problem on which David has given talks many, many times, but, now that we have acquired Megan, the lab can venture even further, providing hands-on assistance to farmers in Africa with the use of thorough, behavioral ecology and biology-based research. We are thrilled to have Megan as a new member of our team and are sure she will do excellent work!

Image: Rasgon Lab
1. World Cocoa Foundation. Cocoa Market Update (April 2014). April 1, 2014. WorldCocoaFoundation.org. http://worldcocoafoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/Cocoa-Market-Update-as-of-4-1-2014.pdf.

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