Mentor: Dr. James Keesling
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
"I applied to the University Scholars Program in order to further my education in applied mathematics. Through participating in research, I have learned how to create mathematical models in biology and how their implementation helps to control, and ultimately prevent, diseases. I hope to attain the skills to design mathematical models by the end of the project."
- Mathematical modeling in Biology
University Scholars Program, 2012-2013
Dean's List College of Engineering, 2010
Florida Bright Futures Scholarship, 2009-Present
Gift of Life Scholarship, 2009
Spanish Honor Society Scholarship, 2009
- Habitat for Humanity ReStore
Hobbies and Interests
- Reading Classic Novels
- Going to the gym
- Running 5ks
Musca domestica Salivary Gland Hytrosavirus
Musca domestica salivary gland hytrosavirus (MdSGHV) is a disease that enlarges the salivary glands in both genders of Musca domestica, as well as causes infertility in female flies. An infected female fly will no longer produce or lay eggs and will refuse a male’s mating attempts. Infected male flies become slow to copulate. Collaborating closely with the University of Florida’s Entomology Department, we have hypothesized that the virus is primarily transmitted through male-male interaction. We have determined that males become infected in three main ways. Aggression has shown to be the most operative way for male flies to become infected. The constant mating attempts and fighting amongst males causes damage to the flies’ appendages, allowing the virus that was once on the cuticle of one fly to enter the hemocoel, the space in which the blood circulates, of the other fly. Once the virus has entered the fly’s hemocoel, the fly will become infected and exhibit the symptoms of MdSGHV. We have hypothesized that the flies have the virus present on their cuticle, and when the cuticle is ruptured through fighting or attempted mating, the virus enters the hemocoel, which is the second mode of transmission. Contamination of the food source with the virus is the third mode of transmission. MdSGHV is only transmitted to females through food and environmental contamination because there is no evidence that females exhibit aggressive behavior. We have also determined that the infected male flies have the highest death rate, while the healthy female flies have the lowest death rate. The death rates for healthy male flies and infected female flies are approximately equal. Using a set of differential equations, we have used the aforementioned variables to model the transmission of MdSGHV through Musca domestica.