Foley Laboratory in Infectious Disease Ecology

Ben Plourde

Ben Plourde

Ben Plourde

Ben Plourde

I joined the Foley Lab in Fall 2013 as a Ph.D. student in the graduate group in comparative pathology. I’m interested in the effects of anthropogenic change on infectious disease transmission. Specifically, I’m planning to study tick-borne pathogens in relation to forestry, fire and development. I’m fascinated by ecological cascades that highlight the complexity and magnificence of the natural world.

I earned my B.S. in biological sciences and physics from the University of Connecticut. As an undergraduate, I spent three years in functional plant ecology research in tropical second-growth forests. I was fortunate to spend two field summers at La Selva Biological Station in Costa Rica measuring tree traits. The study sites are part of a long-term and multi-national tropical forest-monitoring program, NeoSelvas. My major findings underscored the importance and nuances of wood density measurement for estimating biomass of tropical forests.

After graduation, I moved to Philadelphia where I started as a middle school science teacher in the School District of Philadelphia. I concurrently earned my M.Ed. in science education from Arcadia University. After three years of teaching, I returned to research with the ultimate goal of an academic career to pursue my passions for teaching and scientific inquiry.

Beyond science, I’m passionate about my alma mater, outdoor adventures, college basketball, cities, craft beer and pop culture.