Chelsea Higgins

Broadly, I am interested in what makes a pathogen successful. I have previously used bioinformatics to understand the genetic basis of invertebrate host resistance to parasites and look for signs of selection in response to parasitism in natural host populations. In my current project, my goal is to investigate how vector-borne pathogens may change with global warming. In the lab, I will use an in vitro method to track the evolutionary trajectory of Zika Virus across different temperatures and hosts. I will also use microbiome samples of field collected mosquitoes to understand how the mosquito virome may be associated with different environmental factors, interactions within the microbiome, and mosquito range expansion. Using wet lab, field, and computational approaches, I hope to shine a light on how climate change will impact viruses and vectors alike in the near future.


Fields, P.D., Jalinsky, J.R., Bankers, L., McElroy, K.E., Sharbrough, J., Higgins, C., Morgan-Richards, M., Boore, J.L., Neiman, M., Logsdon, Jr., J.M. 2024. Genome evolution and introgression in the New Zealand mud snails Potmaopyrgus estuarinus and Potamopyrgus kaitunuparaoa. Genome Biology and Evolution 16, evae091.

Bates, K.A., Neiman, M., Higgins, C., King, K.C. 2022. Turning the tide on sex and the microbiota in aquatic animals. Hydrobiologia. Online view.
Higgins, C. 2020. Immunology at Eye Level: An Artistic View to the Immune System. Kindle Direct Publishing.


2023  M.Sc. Integrated Biology, University of Iowa
2020  Certificate in Clinical and Translational Science, University of Iowa
2020  B.Sc. Biology, University of Iowa
2020  B.A. Music, University of Iowa


4YF Fellowship in Biology, UBC
Latham Science Engagement Fellow 
Iowa Biosciences Academy Scholar