Courtney Thomason

Ph.D Student

Department of Biological Sciences
Texas Tech University

Email: courtney.thomason(at)
2008 - current: Ph.D. Program at Texas Tech University, Biology
2003 - 2007:
B.S., Biological Sciences, Wildlife/Zoological Conservation Area. Murray State University, Murray, KY.
2005-2007 Selected as a Research Fellow, Biology and Mathematics in Population Studies program
Research Interests
My research interests focus on parasite co-infection dynamics within the host and the implications to the immune response and population level response. Until recently, host-parasite dynamics have been studied using a one host-one parasite framework, but recent work has expanded this framework to account for multi-host parasites and co-infections. My study system is a community of Peromyscus leucopus and P. maniculatus in western Virginia at Mountain Lake Biological Station that has been studied for over 30 years. Ten endoparasites have been identified to date (8 intestinal parasites and 2 blood parasites), and co-infections are common within these populations of mice. Preliminary data suggest that co-infections of a blood parasite and an intestinal parasite result in trade-offs within the immune response of the mouse.

Following the community ecology framework for host-parasite interactions proposed by
Pedersen and Fenton (2007), my research aims to answer these questions: (1) Are trade-offs present within the host immune system in response to co-infections of differing parasites? (2) Given the effects of such co-infections at the individual level, what are the implications for population and transmission dynamics?