Faculty Profile

Dana K. Shaw

Dana K. Shaw

Assistant Professor


  • Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology (primary appointment)
  • School of Molecular Biosciences (associated faculty)
  • Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health (affiliated faculty)

Room: ADBF 4031
Office Phone: 509-335-3884 Lab Phone: 509-335-3862

Lab Website


Education and Training

Post-doctoral: University of Maryland, School of Medicine
Ph.D.: Texas A&M University Health Science Center
B.S.: California State University, Fresno

Research and Interests:

Research in the Shaw lab is broadly focused on tick-transmitted diseases.

Ticks are the most important disease vectors in the United States and are a growing threat due to expanding habitats and longer active periods. In 2014, 94% of all vector-borne disease cases reported in the U.S. were attributable to ticks. The North American deer tick, Ixodes scapularis, alone can transmit up to 7 pathogens relevant to human and animal health including those that cause Lyme disease, Anaplasmosis and Encephalitis.

Current strategies for controlling tick-borne diseases hinge on preventing exposure and developing treatments for infected individuals. Various issues hinder the ability to combat tick-borne disease including the lack of commercially available vaccines, misdiagnosis and the emergence of drug resistance. Limiting the spread of disease by targeting pathogens within the arthropod before they can be transmitted is an attractive solution to these problems

The arthropod’s immune system is a major factor that influences vector competence (the ability of arthropods to acquire, maintain and transmit microbial agents). However, unlike insects, comparatively little is known about immune processes in ticks. The Shaw lab aims to address this gap by using a multidisciplinary approach that integrates immunology, microbiology and entomology to understand how and why vector-borne pathogens persist in ticks.

Select Publications:

McClure Carroll E.E., Wang X., Shaw D.K., O'Neal A.J., Oliva Chávez A.S., Brown L.J., Boradia V.M., Hammond H.L., Pedra J.H.F. “p47 licenses activation of the immune deficiency pathway in the tick Ixodes scapularis.”. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2018. Dec 17; 116(1):205-210.

Shaw, D.K., Tate, A.T., Schneider, D.S., Levashina, E.A., Kagan, J.C., Pal, U., Fikrig, E., Pedra, J.H.F. “Vector Immunity and Evolutionary Ecology: The Harmonious Dissonance”. Trends Immunol. 2018 Oct 6. pii: S1471-4906(18)30168-6.

McClure, E.E., Oliva Chávez, A.S., Shaw, D.K., Carlyon, J.A., Ganta, R.R., Noh, S.M., Wood, D.O., Bavoil, P.M., Brayton, K.A., Martinez, J.J., McBride, J.W., Valdivia, R.H., Munderloh, U.G., Pedra, J.H.F. “Genetic Manipulation of Obligate Intracellular Bacteria: Advances and Challenges”. Nat Rev Microbiol. 2017. (9) 544-558

Oliva Chávez, A.S., Shaw, D.K., Munderloh, U.G., Pedra, J.H.F. “Tick Humoral Responses: Marching to the Beat of a Different Drummer”. Front. Microbiol. 2017. (8):223.

Shaw D.K., Wang X., Brown L.J., Chávez A.S., Reif K.E., Smith A.A., Scott A.J., McClure E.E., Boradia V.M., Hammond H.L., Sundberg E.J., Snyder G.A., Liu L., DePonte K., Villar M., Ueti M.W., de la Fuente J., Ernst R.K., Pal U., Fikrig E., Pedra J.H.F. “Infection-Derived Lipids Elicit a Novel Immune Deficiency Circuitry in Arthropods”. Nat. Commun. 2017. (8) 14401.

Wang, X., Shaw, D.K., Hammond, H.L., Sutterwala, F.S., Rayamajhi, M., Shirey, K.A., Perkins, D.J., Bonventre, J.V., Velayutham, T.S., Evans, S.M., Rodino, K.G., VieBrock, L., Scanlon, K.M., Carbonetti, N.H., Carlyon, J.A., Miao, E.A., McBride, J.W., Kotsyfakis, M., Pedra, J.H.F. “The Prostaglandin E2-EP3 Receptor Axis Regulates Rickettsial-Mediated NLRC4 Inflammasome Activation”. PLoS Pathogens. 2016 Aug 2; 12(8): e1005803.

Shaw, D.K., Hyde, J.A. and Skare, J.T. “The Borrelia burgdorferi BB0646 Protein is Responsible for the Lipase and Hemolytic Activity Associated with the Etiological Agent of Lyme Disease”. Mol Microbiol. 2012 Jan;83(2):319-34.

Veterinary Immunology (VM534)