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Kaylee Byers

Interdisciplinary Studies Graduate Program, Faculty of Graduate Studies
Kaylee Byers
Interdisciplinary Studies Graduate Program, Faculty of Graduate Studies
Thesis: Rats, Parasites, and their Associated Pathogens
Degrees: MSc Evolutionary Biology, University of Alberta (2013); BSc Animal Biology, University of Alberta (2009)
Supervisor: David Patrick
Committee Members:
  • Dr. Michael Whitlock, Professor, Department of Zoology, UBC
  • Dr. Patrick Tang, Clinical Associate Professor, Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, UBC

Awards & Scholarships

  • Public Scholar Initiative, 2015
  • Gilles Brassard Doctoral Prize for Interdisciplinary Research, 2014
  • Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship, 2014-2017
  • Killam Doctoral Scholarship, 2014-2016
  • Bridge Strategic Training Fellowship, University of British Columbia, September 2013 - August 2016
  • Four Year Doctoral Fellowship, University of British Columbia, September 2013 – August 2017
  • Queen Elizabeth II Scholarship, University of Alberta, 2011 and 2012
  • Alberta Scholarship Program Graduate Student Scholarship, 2012
  • Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research, Profiling Alberta's Graduate Students Award, University of Alberta, 2012
  • Donald E. Johnston Fellowship, Ohio State University, 2012
  • Green and Gold Scholarship for Professional Development, University of Alberta, 2011
  • Graduate Student's Association Silver Teaching Award, University of Alberta, 2012
  • Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research Student Teaching Award, University of Alberta, 2012
  • Faculty of Science Excellence in Teaching Award, University of Alberta, 2012


Kaylee is a PhD candidate with a keen interest in host-parasite dynamics, and a passion for science literacy. Kaylee began her PhD in 2013 after completing an MSc at the University of Alberta in Systematics and Evolution. Prior to her MSc, Kaylee's BSc was in Animal Biology with a focus on parasitology and wildlife disease. Her current research interests are focused on the interface between human and wildlife health, and the links which bridge these two groups, namely vectors of disease such as some arthropods. 
Kaylee's PhD research is part of the ongoing, nationally-funded Vancouver Rat Project (VRP), which was started by a prior Bridge Student, Dr. Chelsea Himsworth. The aims of the VRP are to evaluate the health risks posed by rats, and to suggest solutions to these risks. Kaylee's contribution to the VRP will be to determine the role of rat fleas in the transmission of some pathogens between rats and people, as well as to study the population dynamics of rat populations to better determine their population structure and movement patterns. 

Kaylee is an active volunteer with local science outreach initiatives. In addition to vounteering in schools, Kaylee is the organizer of a monthly event in Vancouver called Nerd Nite. The aims of Nerd Nite are to provide accessible education in the form of informal lectures to adults. At each event, there are three speakers who are experts in their field. These fields are diverse, ranging from cultural phenomena, to photography, to molecular biology. Attendees are encouraged to interact with the presenters, ask questions, and think critically about the subject matter (all while having a glass of beer). Kaylee's overarching goal for Nerd Nite is to provide an atmosphere which promotes community learning; this process is further achieved by providing the public with links to researchers and scholars in academia and in business.


Current research interests: The role of ectoparasites in the transmission of zoonotic disease among animal and human populations.

Past research interests: Sexual conflict and the correlated evolution of male and female reproductive structures.


Refereed Publications:

K. Byers, and H. Proctor. 2014. Like a glove: do the dimensions of the male adanal suckers and tritonymphal female docking papillae correlate in the Proctophyllodidae (Astigmata: Analgoidea). Acarologia, 54: 3-14.


Proppe, D.S., K.A. Byers, C.B. Sturdy, and C.C. St. Clair. 2013. Physical condition of black-capped chickadees (Poecile atricapillus) in relation to road disturbance. Canadian Journal of Zoology. 91: 842-845.


Byers, K.A., and H.C. Proctor. 2013. Symbiotic arthropods from the house sparrow (Passer domesticus Linnaeus) from two locations in Alberta, Canada. The Canadian Entomologist, 145: 668-673.


Locke, S.A., A.R. Lapierre, K. Byers, H. Proctor, D.J. McLaughlin, and D.J. Marcogliese. 2012. Molecular and morphological evidence for the Holarctic distribution of Urogonimus macrostomus (Rudolphi, 1803) Monticelli, 1888 (Digenea: Leucochloridiidae). Journal of Parasitology, 98: 880-882.



Non-Refereed Publications:

Walter, D.E., S. Latonas, and K. Byers. 2011. Almanac of Alberta Oribatida. Part 1. Ver. 2.1. The Royal Alberta Museum, Edmonton,

AB. http://www.royalalbertamuseum.ca/research/lifeSciences/invertebrateZoology/research.cfm

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