Emily McDermott, Ph.D., has joined the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture as an assistant professor in the department of entomology and plant pathology.
McDermott’s research in the Division of Agriculture’s Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station will focus on medical and veterinary entomology. In particular, she will focus on the biology and ecology of Culicoides, biting midges that are disease vectors for numerous diseases that affect livestock, deer and other ruminants.
Culicoides include many species, McDermott said, and little work has been done on them in Arkansas. “I want to identify which of these insects are transmitting diseases, and what diseases those are. I’ll map their locations within the state and study their ecologies and behaviors to develop control strategies to protect livestock.”
For Bumpers College, McDermott said she will be developing an academic course in medical and veterinary entomology for graduate and upper-level undergraduate students.
“We are excited to welcome Dr. McDermott to our faculty,” said Ken Korth, professor and interim head of the entomology and plant pathology department. “Her expertise on human and animal diseases carried by insects and ticks is much needed here in Arkansas.
“Producers throughout the state have to constantly deal with arthropod pests that can impact livestock and poultry,” Korth said. “Likewise, nearly every Arkansan knows that ticks and mosquitoes can be particularly troublesome in our state. Dr. McDermott’s extensive knowledge will be especially valuable to our teaching program, both in the classroom and as she guides student research.”
Before joining the Division of Agriculture, McDermott worked three years at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Entomology Division, in Silver Spring, Maryland. Beginning as a post-doctoral researcher, she was promoted to department senior scientist in 2018.
At Walter Reed, McDermott developed novel vector control strategies and personal protective measures to improve force readiness.
While there, McDermott earned a United States Department of the Army Civilian Service Commendation Medal and the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research Award in Recognition of Commitment to Mentorship.
She earned her doctoral degree in medical and veterinary entomology at the University of California-Riverside, and her bachelor’s degree in entomology at The Ohio State University, Columbus.
Before earning her degrees, McDermott was a plant protection and quarantine biological science technician for the U.S. Department of Agriculture at Otis Air National Guard Base in Massachusetts.
She has extensive mentoring experience in high school and college throughout her college and professional careers, and through the Army Educational Outreach Program’s Science and Engineering Apprenticeship Program and College Qualified Leaders Mentor.