Emma Harris

Research Sci/Scholar I Microbiology, Immunology, and Pathology


(970) 491-8236

About Emma

Dr. Harris’ research interests include furthering comprehension of the molecular underpinnings of vector competence in ticks and mosquitoes. She received her Ph.D. from Louisiana State University where she investigated the dynamic interplay between rickettsial pathogens and their tick hosts. This work focused on vector competence of multiple Rickettsia, including the causative agent of Rocky Mountain spotted fever, in Dermacentor variablilis and Amblyomma maculatum. This led to further studies involving the role the Rickettsia parkeri proteins Sca2 and RickA play in tick cell invasion. Upon completion of these studies, Dr. Harris was awarded a fellowship at the CDC Division of Vector-Borne Diseases where she investigated the immunoproteomic profile of the emerging pathogen Borrelia miyamotoi. These studies led to the identification of a novel protein, B. miyamotoi antigen A(BmaA). Preliminary evidence supports specificity of BmaA in serological detection of B. miyamotoi and distinction from several other borrelial pathogens, including Borrelia burgdorferi, the causative agent of Lyme disease. Looking to expand her vector repertoire, she joined the lab of Dr. Rebekah Kading at Colorado State University. Dr. Harris’ current research involves development of novel mosquito-driven paratransgenic control strategies for viral infections and spearheading studies on Bukakata virus, a novel tick-borne orbivirus detected in Ugandan bats. She’s also examining viral reassortment among coinfecting strains of Rift Valley fever virus, which presents a significant agricultural threat if introduced to North America from regions where it is currently endemic.


PhD, Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine Department of Pathobiological Sciences, 2016BS, Mississippi University for Women, 2010AA, Pearl River Community College, 2007