Dr. Briggs received B.S. degrees in Electrical Engineering and Biological Sciences from Michigan Technological University. She received an M.S. in Electrical Engineering at Princeton University, while working at Bell Labs. She received a PhD in Biology from UCSB, where she studied host-parasitoid population dynamics. As a postdoctoral researcher at Imperial College, Silwood Park in England, she developed models of insect-pathogen interactions. Dr. Briggs was on the faculty in the Dept. of Integrative Biology at UC Berkeley from 1997-2007, and then joined the UCSB faculty in 2007. She holds a joint appointment EEMB and BMSE, and is a Mellichamp Chair in Systems Biology.
Dr. Briggs’ research combines modeling and experiments to understand the factors affecting the dynamics of animal populations. Her lab is working on a number of projects involving disease-host or parasitoid-host interactions, including:
The Frog-killing Chytrid Fungus in the California Sierra Nevada
The Briggs lab is investigating the factors that allow for persistence of populations of mountain yellow-legged frogs infected with the chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, through a combination of field surveys, experiments, genetics, molecular techniques, and modeling.
Lyme Disease in Southern California
Lyme disease, caused by bacteria, Borrelia burgdorferi, is maintained in the wild in vertebrate hosts, and transmitted between hosts by ticks. Lyme disease has a much higher prevalence in the eastern US than in California. The Briggs lab is studying the dynamics of the tick, pathogen, and vertebrate host communities in Southern California to understand the factors contributing to the low pathogen prevalence in this area.