Tara Thiemann

Tara Thiemann

Assoc. Professor
Room 221
Biological Sciences Center
Email Address
Phone Number

PhD, University of California, Davis, 2011

MS, Truman State University, 2003

BS, Truman State University, 2001

Teaching Interests

My love of teaching started as a love of learning, so my primary goal in the classroom is to help my students cultivate curiosity. I try to bring enthusiasm to each lecture and draw focus to topics as they are relevant to student lives. This may be as simple as having them observe birds while walking across campus, describing intermediary metabolism in terms of the hamburger that they had for dinner the night before, or bringing in cheeses to discuss the bacterial and fungal processes that create the holes in Swiss cheese and the delicious veins of blue cheese. While I strive for students to finish my courses with the knowledge and skills to be successful in future endeavors, I hope mostly that they leave Pacific with a true love of learning.

Research Focus

My research focuses on the biology of arthropod vectors (e.g. mosquitoes, ticks and fleas) that transmit pathogens to humans and other animals. Malaria, dengue virus, Zika virus, West Nile virus and Lyme disease are just a few of the hundreds of vectorborne diseases found worldwide, affecting millions of people annually.

My lab is currently focused on the mosquito vectors of West Nile virus, dog heartworm and other vectorborne pathogens found in California. We combine field techniques with molecular tools in the laboratory to better understand the ecology and behavior of the mosquitoes and determine how their unique biology relates to disease transmission.