Parlee Center for Science and the Common Good

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Dr. Felicia Keesing Speaks on Biodiversity and Disease

Students, faculty, and community members turned out to hear Dr. Felicia Keesing speak on “Biodiversity and Infectious Diseases: The Case of Lyme Disease.”

Unsure of the path she wanted to take, Dr. Felicia Keesing first earned her B.S. in mathematics from Stanford University. After graduating from college, however, she followed a friend’s suggestion and taught herself biology at an undergraduate level, then went on to earn her Ph.D. from UC Berkeley. Now the David and Rosalie Rose Distinguished Professor of Science, Mathematics, and Computing, and Professor of Biology at Bard College, where she has worked since 2000, Dr. Keesing leads her lab team in pursuing research on how ecological communities respond to changes in biological diversity. Currently, she is investigating how loss of biological diversity influences disease transmission by using tick-borne diseases in the US, as well as how African savannah communities are responding to the decline of large mammals. Her research has received grants from the National Geographic Society, National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, Environmental Protection Agency, and more. She has also received the United States Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. Additionally, Keesing collaborates with her husband, Dr. Richard Ostfeld. The two work together for the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, and have co-authored several scientific papers that are part of the reading list for BIO-101 (Ecology & Evolutionary) at Ursinus.

Dr. Keesing spent a busy day at Ursinus College:

  • Beginning with lunch with Biology Department faculty, she then joined
  • a discussion with students in The Forum on the impacts of biodiversity loss in the northeastern US on Lyme disease prevalence; then
  • enjoyed dinner with CSCG fellows, and ended by presenting
  • her lecture to an audience of students, faculty, and community members in the Lenfest Theater of the Kaleidoscope at 7pm that evening.