Parris T Humphrey, Ph.D. candidate
e-mail me at: pth [at] email.arizona.edu
Appointments & Education
Ph.D. candidate, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, University of Arizona, August 2009–present
B.A., Biology; Science, Technology & Society (STS), Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY. 2006.
I have a general interest in the ways microbes run the world through their interactions with plants and animals as well as their influence on fundamental abiotic processes in the environment. More specifically, I focus on the mechanistic bases and ecological consequences of tripartite interactions among leaf-dwelling bacteria, specialist insect herbivores, and the plant hosts that they share.
A few of my projects in the Whiteman Lab seek to understand the...
• fitness effects of multi-tropic interactions (in the lab and field) and the genetic basis of differential outcomes for parasites and their hosts (in the lab).
• role of insect herbivores in the population dynamics of pathogens of native plants in the Rocky Mountains.
• direct and indirect interactions among parasites that co-infect hosts.
• role of phenotypic trade-offs in shaping species interactions with natural enemies.
Humphrey, P.T., A.D. Gloss, M. Fremgen, M. Villalobos, H.A. Affeldt III, J. Frazier, L.N. Meihls, G. Jander, & N.K. Whiteman. Decoupling of plasticity to light and herbivory across habitats in bittercress. Ecology. In review.
Thaler, J.S., P.T. Humphrey, & N.K. Whiteman. 2012. Evolution of signal cross-talk between jasmonate and salicylate in plants. Trends in Plant Science 17:260-270 (Special issue on specificity of plant–natural enemy interactions).
Whiteman, N.K., A.D. Gloss, T. Sackton, S. Groen, P.T. Humphrey, R. Lapoint, I. Sønderby, B.A. Halkier, C. Kocks, F.M. Ausubel & N.E. Pierce. 2012. Genes involved in the evolution of herbivory by a leaf-mining drosophilid fly. Genome Biology and Evolution. Jan;4(9):788-804. (Featured article).
Onder, O., P.T. Humphrey, B. McOmber, F. Korobova, N. Francella, D.C. Greenbaum, and D. Brisson. 2012. OspC Is potent plasminogen receptor on surface of Borrelia burgdorferi. Journal of Biological Chemistry 287:16860–16868.
Brisson, D., C. Brinkley, P.T. Humphrey, B.D. Kemps, and R.S. Ostfeld. 2011. It takes a community to raise the prevalence of a zoonotic pathogen. Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Infectious Diseases vol. 2011: 2011:741406.
Humphrey PT, Caporale DA, Brisson D. 2010. Uncoordinated phylogeography of Borrelia burgdorferi and its tick vector, Ixodes scapularis. Evolution 64 (9): 2653-63.
Humphrey PT 2006. Investigating the ability of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) to disinfect black-legged ticks (Ixodes scapularis) of the Lyme disease spirochete, Borrelia burgdorferi. Undergraduate Thesis, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY.
Honors & Awards
NSF Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant, 2013.
Center for Insect Science (U. of Arizona) Dissertation Research Fellowship, 2012.
Dr. Lee Snyder Memorial Fellowship, Rocky Mountain Biological Lab, 2012.
Center for Insect Science (U. of Arizona) Travel Award, 2011.
Graduate Research Fellowship, Rocky Mountain Biological Lab, 2011.
Galileo Circle Scholarship, University of Arizona, 2011.
NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, Honorable Mention, 2009.
After growing up in Los Angeles, I moved to New York to attend Eugene Lang College where I focused on writing and Science, Technology and Society Studies (STS). After my third semester, I transfered to Bard College to study biology with a focus on the ecology and evolution of infectious diseases. I received my BA from Bard in 2006 with focuses in both Biology and Science, Technology & Society Studies (STS). At Bard, I worked with Dr. Felicia Keesing to examine the ecological effects of white-tailed deer as hosts for ticks and Lyme disease bacteria, Borrelia burgdorferia, as well as the relationship between scientific knowledge and politics for disease control strategies emerging from both the private and public sectors.
From 2006-2009, I continued working on the Lyme disease system with Dr. Dustin Brisson at the University of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia PA. With grants from both NIH and CDC, we studied the role of host ecology (rodents, shrews, birds, etc) on the population structure of the Lyme pathogen, Borrelia burgdorferi. We also examined the molecular interactions between host and bacterial factors that define the apparent host specificity of various strains of B. burgdorferi that co-occur within natural populations. We also explored the contemporary distribution of ixodid ticks and B. burgdorferi throughout North America in the light of phylogeography and historical demography to uncover how Pleistocene de-glaciation affected the historical spread of the various components of this disease system. Lastly, I was involved with developing and ecological vaccine for reducing transmission from hosts to ticks in the field.
Why I Love Tucson
Team O2/Maynards Cycling
UA Cycling Team
El Grupo Youth Cycling