Dr. Angela Luis, Associate Professor

Dr. Angela Luis, Associate ProfessorAngie is broadly interested in the ecology of infectious disease in wildlife. She studies the impact of wildlife host ecology on disease dynamics across scales, from within-host processes, to population-level and community-level interactions, up to broadscale, world-wide patterns of disease dynamics and emergence. See Research page for more details.

Angie is originally from Oklahoma, where she was not taught evolution in public schools. So to be rebellious, she did some reading on her own and found evolution to be utterly fascinating and fell in love with biology. She received her B.S. in Zoology from the University of Oklahoma, then worked in an immunology lab for 5 years. Although the interactions between microbes and their hosts was interesting, she found her love with the bigger picture of disease ecology. She received her PhD in Ecology from Penn State University in 2010. She then did postdoctoral research at Colorado State University and Princeton University before joining the faculty at UM in 2014. In her free time, she enjoys the great outdoors of Montana (hiking, climbing, snowboarding), local craft beers (especially dark beers and sours), and experiencing life through the eyes of her toddler.

Leah Joyce, Ph.D. student

Leah Joyce, Ph.D. studentLeah is broadly interested in the ecology of emerging infectious wildlife diseases. Her research focuses on measuring and modeling various habitat and community-level factors that shape infection dynamics and allow them to persist as an endemic, specifically with chytrid fungus infections in amphibians. She is currently working with the USGS National Wildlife Health Center to understand the accuracy of water filtering detection techniques and how they compare to the traditional amphibian skin swabbing techniques. She is a NSF Graduate Research Fellow and a Glacier National Park Conservancy Research Fellow. In addition to her dissertation research, Leah monitors chytrid fungus in amphibian populations in western Montana with the USGS.

Originally from Ohio, Leah received a B.S. in Marine Science and Biology from the University of Tampa and attended the University of South Florida for a year in the Integrative Biology master’s program. In the past, Leah's research has focused on non-amphibian hosts of chytrid fungus and ecotoxicology. In her free time, Leah enjoys hiking with her dog, mountain biking, backpacking, skiing, and taking road trips to towns where she can visit new breweries and distilleries.

Sarah Twoteeth, M.S. student

Sarah Twoteeth, M.S. studentSarah is a member of the Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes, and she has lived on the Flathead Indian Reservation for majority of her life. The Mission mountains are sacred to the CSKT people and the Mission’s are important to the elders, Sarah, and their cultural way of life. Her belief system is what drives her ambition and passion to ensure wildlife remain on the landscape.

She completed her associate degree in hydrology & bachelor’s degree in Wildlife & Fisheries at the Salish Kootenai College in 2019, where she studied wintering bats at hibernations sites (1 cave & 4 mines) on the Flathead Indian Reservation using bat acoustic detectors. Sarah’s current research focuses on how competition affects contact rates of deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus) in outdoor enclosures under different densities and in the presence of voles (dominant competitor). Sarah is a UM SIGP graduate fellow and a wildlife biological trainee for CSKT.

In Sarah’s free time she enjoys baking sweets, making wine, being in the outdoors camping, hiking, swimming, and berry picking with family and friends.

Past Lab Members

Dr. Andreas Eleftheriou, Ph.D. student

Dr. Andreas Eleftheriou, Ph.D. studentAndreas is generally interested in wildlife disease ecology, ecotoxicology, and conservation medicine. He decided to pursue and expand on his research interests by joining the Luis lab while he employs his veterinary knowledge and skills. His dissertation research aims to characterize the effects of stress and biodiversity on the prevalence of pathogens in wildlife species by using the deer mouse-Sin Nombre virus system as a model disease system. Andreas is particularly interested in combining field, laboratory, statistical and modeling work in his research.

Andreas came to UM from the Northeast USA, but he is originally from Cyprus. He received a B.A. in Biology with a specialization in Ecology and Conservation Biology from Boston University. Subsequently, he received an M.S. in Biological Sciences from the University of Massachusetts-Lowell and a D.V.M. from Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University where he pursued his interests in exotic pet, wildlife and conservation medicine. After a one-year veterinary training internship at the University of Pennsylvania’s Matthew J. Ryan veterinary hospital, he went on to work briefly as a Faculty Associate at Elmira College. He is now a Ph.D. candidate in Wildlife Biology in Dr. Luis’ laboratory at UM. Email: andreas_dot_eleftheriou_at_umontana_dot_edu 

Emily Weidner, M.S. student

Emily Weidner, M.S. studentBroadly, Emily is interested in wildlife disease epidemiology and the ecology of zoonoses. Her work in the Luis Lab centers around a large dataset from the southwestern United States, where she is examining potential environmental drivers for deer mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus) survival. Her work fits into the larger context of the deer mouse Sin Nombre virus-system, where deer mouse demography plays important roles in disease transmission dynamics.

Emily is originally from Iowa but has lived in Bend, Oregon, for the past 11 years. She received a BS in Fish and Wildlife Science from Oregon State University with a specialization in wildlife management and habitat conservation. Immediately after graduation, Emily spent time with the US Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management before starting graduate school at the University of Montana. In addition to graduate school, Emily works for US Fish and Wildlife Service as a wildlife biologist. The core species with which she works include greater sage-grouse, golden eagles, wolves, forest mesocarnivores, spotted owls, and bats. In her free time, Emily enjoys wildlife photography, visiting remote locales, fly-fishing, geeking out on taxonomy, and hiking with her German shorthaired pointer, Hintza.

T.J. Clark, Ph.D. student

TJClark.JPGT.J. was born in Martinsburg, Pennsylvania and found an interest in wildlife while hiking and exploring the valleys and mountains of the Appalachians with his dad. He completed his degree in Zoology and Neuroscience at Ohio Wesleyan University in 2015, where he studied the invasive New Zealand mud snail in the Great Lakes’ region. T.J. then moved abroad to bonnie Scotland where he completed his Masters in Ecology at the University of Glasgow with Ewan Wakefield and Jason Matthiopoulos. His thesis focused on developing habitat and occupancy models to conserve and manage the threatened sooty shearwater in the Falkland Islands. T.J.’s current research is focusing on developing predator-prey population models of large carnivores and ungulates in multi-predator, multi-prey systems with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. In his free time, T.J. enjoys trail running, cooking vegan food, cross country skiing, expanding his record collection, and birding.

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