Lab Professionals

Stephanie Lester

Wildlife Research Assistant

Currently pursuing a degree in Biology in the College of Arts & Sciences at Texas Tech University.

Kendall Blanchard

M.S. Graduate Student

B.S. - Wildlife Conservation, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA, 2016

Before Texas Tech, I completed a Bachelor’s degree at Virginia Tech in Wildlife Conservation. During my time as an undergraduate, I worked as a lab technician studying the effects of tuberculosis in banded mongoose through DNA extraction and PCR. Additionally, I studied antibiotic resistant E. Coli in water samples from the Chobe River in Botswana, Africa. My research interests involve human and environmental impacts on wildlife disease dynamics.

Alyssa Hay

M.S. Graduate Student

B.S. Biology – Shippensburg University, 2017

Before starting my graduate studies at Texas Tech University, I interned for the US Forest Service and Fish and Wildlife Service in the west investigating high desert plant phenology and learning the current applications of ArcGIS Online and the scientific data lifecycle. My research interests lie in ecological risk assessment and how contaminants affect the processes and behavior of organisms. In addition to my environmental fate and transport project in the Wildlife Toxicology lab, I communicate our research to the public using social media

Jessica Herzog

M.S. Graduate Student

B.S. – Natural Resources Management, University of Alaska - Fairbanks, 2018

I earned my undergraduate degree in Natural Resources Management from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. While there, I studied songbird nestlings’ diet, prepared museum specimens for the Museum Ornithology Lab, and researched how male and female Golden Eagles utilized niche partitioning to avoid competing with each other. Broadly, I am interested in anthropogenic effects on birds and plan to study carriers of parasites potentially common between Northern Bobwhite Quail and various songbirds.

Cassie Henry

Ph.D. Graduate Student

B.S. – Biology, Middle Tennessee State University, 2012.

Prior to coming to Texas Tech University, I worked on the maternal transfer of methylmercury from mother to neonates and subsequent effects on neonate behavior and performance. I also looked at the effects of parasite load on leukocyte counts. My research interests are in the effects contaminants have on wildlife populations. At Texas Tech, my research will focus on the efficacy of a medicated feed.

Cusaac, J.P.W., V. Kremer, R. Wright, C. Henry, R.R. Otter, and F.C. Bailey. 2015. Effects of Maternally-Transferred methylmercury on Stress Physiology in Northern Water Snake (Nerodia sipedon) Neonates. Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology. Accepted.

Aravindan Kalyanasundaram

Post-Doctoral Research Investigator

Ph.D. University of Madras, India 2011
M.Sc. Biotechnology, Bharathidasan University, India 2003
B. Sc. Biochemistry, Periyar University, India 2001

I graduated with a Ph.D in Biotechnology from the University of Madras (Central Institute of Brackishwater Aquaculture-ICAR) in N0vember 2011. My doctoral research has focused on identifying novel seafood allergens (Pen m 3.0101, Pen m 4.0101 & Pen m 6.0101) in black tiger shrimp Penaeus monodon. My previous research experience dealt with the molecular epidemiology of ticks and tick borne diseases, and epidemiological studies focusing on anthelmintic resistance in nematodes that affect ruminants. The objective was to identify potential recombinant vaccine candidates to combat parasite infections in ruminants. As a Post-Doctoral Research Investigator in the Wildlife Toxicology Laboratory, I wish to advance our understanding of the pathogenicity and life cycle of parasites in quail.

Matthew Brym

Wildlife Research Scientist and M.S. Graduate Assistant

B.S. -Interdisciplinary Studies, University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, TX, 2012

I am currently working on Monarch butterfly studies in the Department of Biology under the direction of Dr. Ron Kendall.

Prior to coming to Texas Tech University, I worked with the Nebraska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research unit on an avian behavioral ecology and site-specific hunter participation project. Hunter effort and harvest information was assessed through the use of interviews and quantitative analysis, while telemetry and GPS tracking reflected how this hunting pressure could potentially influence ringnecked pheasant (Phasianus colchicus) home range selection. My research interests include potential benefits derived from the interdependence of hunters and game species; and the roles hunters, land owners, and land managers play in conservation and resolving local environmental concerns

Brett Henry

Ph.D. Graduate Student

M.S. Chemistry, Middle Tennessee State University 2016

B.S. Biochemistry, Middle Tennessee State University 2013

My Master’s research was focused in two parts, on the purification of the enzyme purine nucleoside phosphorylase from bovine liver using protein liquid chromatography techniques, and the characterization of that enzyme through substrate specificity studies, enzymatic velocity studies and the determination of the enzyme’s kinetic mechanism. Additionally, I worked as an associate scientist in Downstream Process Development in Biologics at Bristol-Myers Squibb in Devens, Massachusetts.``

Shannon Moore

Wildlife Research Scientist

M.S. – Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, 2018

B.S. – Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, 2015

Before joining the Wildlife Toxicology Lab at Texas Tech, I completed my Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation at the University of Florida. During my Master’s, I studied avian haemosporidia in Cattle Egrets and their historic global expansion. In between my Bachelor’s and Master’s, I spent a year working as a research technician where I worked on a variety of projects including EHD in white-tail deer, Trypanosoma spp. in Guineafowl, disease and genetics of rodents in Eswatini, meso carnivore land use in Eswatini, and tick-borne pathogens of cattle and Florida wildlife. During my undergraduate, I studied giraffe genetics of two isolated populations, life history of rodents in lowveld savanna habitat, and the use of weevils as a biocontrol agent for Brazilian peppertree. My research interests include avian ecology, landscape ecology, and the impacts of disease on wildlife.

Maya Bastille

Wildlife Research Scientist

M.Sc.— Animal Biology and Biomedical Sciences, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Germany, 2019.

B.A.— Biology, Hendrix College, Conway, AR, 2014.

Before Texas Tech, my undergraduate research focused on the evolutionary ecology of fish and researching copperhead venom genes. My master’s research focused on studying the prevalence of the European brown hare syndrome virus (EBHSV) in Lower Saxony, Germany. Additional projects I worked on during my degree were investigating the relationship between disease and the decline of ring-necked pheasant populations, localizing and characterizing an enzyme from parasitic nematodes found in pigs, assisting in parasite diagnostics for the Canadian Wildlife Health Centre, as well as performing muskox lung dissections and fecal examinations for the University of Calgary Faculty of Veterinary Medicine.

I am currently working in the Wildlife Toxicology Laboratory under the direction of Dr. Ron Kendall to design and conduct lab experiments involving northern bobwhite quail, and the life cycles of parasites pertaining to quail of the Rolling Plains. My research interests include parasitology, pathobiology, and emerging and infectious diseases.

Nick Ryan

Wildlife Research Assistant

Nick is currently pursuing a degree in Biology in the College of Arts & Sciences at Texas Tech University.