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Kayleigh O'Keeffe, Ph.D.

Department: Biology
University of Pennsylvania


2012 B.A. Biology Amherst College, Amherst, MA

2019 Ph.D. Biology University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC

2019-2021 Postdoctoral Fellow University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA

2021-Present PennPORT fellow, Department of Biology — University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA

Research Mentor: Dustin Brisson, Ph.D.
Research Topic:
I am investigating the evolutionary ecology of ticks and tick-borne pathogens, specifically exploring the population dynamics of ticks in New York to see how they relate to spread of tick-borne pathogens.

Teaching Interests: Introductory Biology, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Disease Ecology and Evolution, Biology for non-majors, Molecular Biology

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           O’Keeffe, K.R., A. Simha, C.E. Mitchell (2021) Indirect interactions among coinfecting parasites and a microbial mutualist impact disease progression. In press at Proceedings of the Royal Society B. 

O’Keeffe, K.R., F.W. Halliday, C.D. Jones, I. Carbone, and C.E. Mitchell. (2021). Parasites, niche modification, and the host microbiome: A field survey of multiple parasites. Molecular Ecology, 30:2404-2416.

Oppler, Z.J., K.R. O’Keeffe, K.D. McCoy, D. Brisson. (2020). “Evolutionary genetics of Borrelia.” In Borrelia: Molecular Biology, Host Interaction and Pathogenesis. Eds. D. Scott Samuels and Justin D. Radolf. Caister Academic Press.

O’Keeffe, K.R., Z.J. Oppler, and D. Brisson. Evolutionary Ecology of Lyme Borrelia (2020). Infection, Genetics, and Evolution. 85: 104570.

O’Keeffe, K.R. and C.D. Jones. (2019). Challenges and Solutions for Analyzing Dual RNA-seq Data for Non-Model Host/Pathogen Systems. Methods Ecol Evol. 10:401-414.

O’Keeffe, K.R. and R. Bain. (2018). Comscicon-triangle: regional science communication training for graduate students. J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. 19 (1). 

Hansen, W. D., J. P. Scholl, A. E. Sorensen, K. E. Fisher, J. A. Klassen, L. Calle, G. S. Kandlikar, N. Kortessis, D. C. Kucera, D. E. Marias, D. L. Narango, K.R. O’Keeffe, W. Recart, E. Ridolfi, and M. E. Shea. (2018). How do we ensure the future of our discipline is vibrant? Student reflections on careers and culture of ecology. Ecosphere 9(2):e0299.

O’Keeffe K.R., I. Carbone, C.D. Jones, C.E. Mitchell. (2017). Plastic potential: how the phenotypes and adaptations of pathogens are influenced by microbial interactions within plants. Current Opinion in Plant Biology 38:78-83.


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