Brian is getting real-world research expereince at GMC through a Vermont Genetics Network study.
Brian Haggerty-Perrault ‘16 has a passion for biology. Over the course of this summer, Brian worked alongside prof. Bill Landesmen (biology) and two other students collecting 1,500 ticks at various sites in Rutland County.
Bill developed a methodology to test the prevalence of Lyme disease by measuring the density of ticks — Vermont has the highest per capita occurrences of Lyme Disease in humans, with Rutland County being one of the highest counties in Vermont.
Bill received a research grant through The Vermont Genetics Network, which funded a three-student GMC research team to help him collect data. Brian was lucky enough to be one of the three involved. Over a 400-square-meter site, the team dragged white denim cloth over the forest floor to collect the creatures. This process took them from the end of May to the beginning of August. Brian brought the tick specimens to the GMC lab for DNA testing. Their analysis includes a quantitative PCR (qPCR) test to determine if the pathogen that contains Lyme is living in the tick’s gut. The team is evaluating data from nine testing sites between Poultney, Wells and Castleton.
Brian grew up in Cambridge, Mass., and is a first-semester senior studying biology. He previously attended Boston University where he received a certificate for graphic design, the equivalent to an associate’s degree, and Paul Smith’s College in Lake Placid, New York.
During his free time away from ticks, Brian is an active member of the men’s rugby team. He started playing on and off when he was a junior in high school and played full-time for Paul Smith’s. During an interruption of his college career, Brian decided to play for the Old Gold Rugby Club in Boston. Currently a coach/player on the men’s rugby team. and a member of the lacrosse team here at Green Mountain College.
Now in the process of applying to graduate school, Brian is interested in working in microbiology or “the more micro side of things.” He also enjoys ecology and has a lot of experience. He’s hoping to mix the two in the near future.