Request A Kit
- We will send you a free, easy to use kit.
- Collect ticks using our kit.
- Return the kit to us. No postage required.
A huge thank you to everyone who participated last year in our new tick project, Project Acari! We've been overwhelmed by the response. We received 2500 ticks from all across the country in just few months. Remarkable!
We spent the following seasons further developing and testing our methods for extraction and collection of data. Our plan going forward is to collect some more ticks this fall, then again next spring/summer.
If you participated last year, we hope you'll send us some more. This allows us to track any changes in the ticks, the disease they carry, and their microbiome from last year.
If you're a new participant, haven't yet sent in some ticks, we hope you'll join. This will expand our reach, allowing us to study the ticks from all over the USA. You can sign up below for us to send you a collection kit.
Our work over the last winter/summer has been in developing laboratory methods we'll need to test thousands of ticks. The first challenge was to figure out whether we could detect pathogens, like the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, in ticks. We tested about 200 blacklegged ticks from the Grafton area of Massachusetts (where we know Lyme disease is common) and found about 62% of them were indeed carrying Lyme disease bacteria.
We then wanted to see if the microbiome, the entire collection of microorganisms in a specific animal or region, differed between infected ticks and uninfected ticks. We found that certain types of bacteria were either more or less common in infected ticks. This suggests that the microbiome might be affecting the capacity of a tick to carry the Lyme disease bacteria.
If true, this could lead to new ways of controlling tick-borne diseases.
To confirm these early findings, and to test all the ticks that we have received so far, we are now developing newer, high-throughput methods that allow us to test large number of ticks. For that, we need more ticks, so we'd love for you to send us some! Please sign up for us to send you a collection kit.
Thanks again to all the citizen scientists who have helped out so far. We couldn't do this without you! We'll keep you posted on what we find out. Together, we can work toward controlling these diseases that are so harmful to so many.
We're on our way!