Dr. Fonseca teaches courses through the Department of Entomology and the Entomology Graduate Program that are also accredited in the Ecology & Evolution Graduate program and the School of Public Health (former UMDNJ). Both courses are offered in the Fall in alternate years. Classes are held at Headlee Labs (180 Jones Ave, New Brunswick, NJ 08901). Dr. Fonseca also teaches invited classes within the Rutgers Environmental Stewards program. To download a PDF of the 3 hour lecture please click here.

Molecular Tools in Entomology, Ecology, and Epidemiology 11:370:410:01 (4 credits)

The course syllabus is here

This course aims to provide students with hands-on experience in basic molecular biology strategies: DNA extraction, Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR), quantitative PCR, primer design and optimization, DNA blocking strategies, cloning, Sanger sequencing, Fragment sizing, NextGeneration sequencing (on a miSeq from Illumina, available in the lab). I will be able to take on up to 10 students each year by using the resources in my laboratory. Once the students are familiar and confortable with the advantages and disadvantages of these basic tools I will expose them to specific questions in Entomol, Ecol, and Epidemiology such as

(1) Cryptic species identification (including parasites and endosymbionts);

(2) Selective mutations (eg. associated with the origin and spread of insecticide resistance);

(3) Epidemiological sleuthing (blood meal analysis, gut microbiota);

(4) Origin and spread of invasive species;

(5) Genetic modification for pest or disease control.

A third of the course will be devoted to providing a working knowledge of analysis methods such as Probability theory, Bayesian Statistics, and Population Genetics. Importantly, the aim of this course is not to substitute Statistics or Population Genetics but instead is to provide an introduction and an incentive for the students to take those courses.

Tuesday, (2) 10:55-12:15, LEC; Thursday, (1) 9:15-10:35, LEC; Thursday, (2,3) 10:55-1:55, LAB

Case Studies in Vector Borne Diseases (CSI - Vector Borne) 11:370:401:01 and 16:370:501:01 (3 credits)

The course syllabus is here

This course aims to expose future citizens, researchers, as well as Public Health officials to basic ecological and evolutionary principles underlying the current upsurge of infectious diseases, especially those transmitted by insect vectors (such as malaria, dengue, Lyme disease, and West Nile virus). A common sense argument is that such knowledge, if obtained using teaching strategies that emphasize and demonstrate its usefulness will lead to more informed and effective Public Health in the US. Both fortunately and unfortunately considering the millions that have suffered, this field is rife with “teachable moments and events”. Although it may turn out to be relatively straightforward to interest the students in the course, a major challenge I foresee, having taught several lectures in related courses, will be to go beyond the unavoidable mock disbelief, condescending smile, and/or feelings of despondency.

My aim is to provide students with the knowledge tools (know how to break a problem into small steps, know to expect interactions between variables, know some basic un-intuitive principles of ecology and evolution) to start addressing a public health problem.

Tuesday, (2) 10:55-12:15, LEC & DISCUSSION; Thursday, (2) 10:55-12:15, LEC & DISCUSSION