Caitlin McDonald, Combined DVM/PhD Graduate

Caitlin McDonaldCaitlin McDonald
Field of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Kelly Zamudio

Current position: Postdoc, Colorado State University Department of Biology 

Brief Biography

I grew up in the self-proclaimed "Mule Capital of the World" (Bishop, California), which predictably fostered my love of animals, and my involvement in FFA.  I started volunteering with the Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep recover program in high school, and continued this work as undergrad research at Scripps College.  Studying abroad in Kenya and New Zealand helped me further develop an interest in global human-wildlife issues.  After undergrad, I got a Thomas J. Watson fellowship to research drivers of bushmeat hunting in eastern and southern Africa.

Research Interests

I study evolution of infectious disease.  I am broadly interested in how selection and adaptation shape host-pathogen interactions, and how we can leverage knowledge of these processes to optimize infectious disease outbreak response and management strategies.  As a DVM/PhD candidate, I am excited to integrate disease ecology and evolution with Planetary Health approaches.  My dissertation reserach investigates amphibian host responses to chytrid fungus over multiple time scales using a combination of field sampling, laboratory infection trials, transcriptomics, and population genomics.


Peer-reviewed publications
4. B.C. Scheele, F. Pasmans, L.F. Skerratt, L. Berger, A. Martel, W. Beukema, A.A. Acevedo, P.A. Burrowes, T. Carvalho, A. Catenazzi, I. De La Riva, M.C. Fisher, S.V. Flechas, C.N. Foster, P. Frías-Álvarez, T.W.J. Garner, B. Gratwicke, J.M. Guayasamin, M. Hirschfeld, J.E. Kolby, T.A. Kosch, E. La Marca, D.B. Lindenmayer, K.R. Lips, A.V. Longo, R. Maneyro, C. McDonald, J. Mendelson, P. Palacios-Rodriguez, G. Parra-Olea, C.L. Richards-Zawacki, M.O. Rödel, S.M. Rovito, C. Soto-Azat, L.F. Toledo, J. Voyles, C. Weldon, S.M. Whitfield, M. Wilkinson, K.R. Zamudio, S. Canessa. Amphibian fungal panzootic causes catastrophic and ongoing loss of biodiversity. Science, 363: 1459-1463. Media coverage: New York Times, The Atlantic, Washington Post, National Geographic, Scientific American, Forbes, Wired

3. Bower, D., L. Brannelly, C. McDonald, R. Webb, S. Greenspan, M. Vickers, M. Gardner, M. Greenlees. A review of the role of parasites in the ecology of reptiles and amphibians. Austral Ecology, 44: 433-448.

2. Fitak, R., J.D. Antonides, E.J. Baitchman, E. Bonaccorso, J. Braun, S. Kubiski, A.C. Fagre, R.B. Gagne, J.S. Lee, J.L. Malmberg, M.D. Stenglein, R.J. Dusek, D. Forgacs, N.M. Fountain-Jones, M.L.J. Gilbertson, K.E.L. Worsley-Tonks, W.C. Funk, D.R. Trumbo, B.M. Ghersi, W. Grimaldi, S.E. Heisel, C.M. Jardine, P.L. Kamath, D. Karmacharya, C.P. Kozakiewicz, S. Kraberger, D.A. Loisel, C. McDonald, S. Miller, D. O’Rourke, C.N. Ott-Conn, M. Páez-Vacas, A.J. Peel, W.C. Turner, M.C. VanAcker, S. VandeWoude, J. Pecon-Slattery. The expectations and challenges of wildlife disease research in the era of genomics: forecasting with a horizon scan-like exercise. Journal of Heredity,110(3): 261-274.

1. Ellison, A, G. DiRenzo, C. McDonald, K. Lips, K. Zamudio. First in vivo Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis transcriptomes reveal mechanisms of host exploitation, host-specific gene expression, and expressed genotype shifts. G3: Genes| Genomes| Genetics, 7(1): 269-278.

Publications in review

1. McDonald, C., A. Ellison, T. James, F. Toledo, K. Zamudio. Gene expression varies within and between enzootic and epizootic lineages of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in the Americas. Revised and resubmitted to Fungal Biology (July 2019).