Meet The Team
Philip Kaufman, Ph.D.
Professor, Head of Entomology Department
Phillip Kaufman, Ph.D., is a professor and head of the Department of Entomology at Texas A&M University. His research program focuses on the development of new pest management tools for livestock and companion animal systems. Beef cattle, dairy cattle, and horses are the predominant livestock in Texas and are one focus of this program; while investigations on improvement for ectoparasite management on companion animals and wildlife are the second focus. Insecticide resistance and control failures are commonplace for many fly and tick pests; therefore, innovative systems are needed to assist in their management.
Brandon Lyons, Ph.D.
Assistant Research Scientist
Brandon Lyons obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Animal Science and Entomology in 2010 at Texas A&M University. In 2014, Brandon received his Master’s degree in Entomology in Jeff Tomberlin’s F.L.I.E.S Lab, also at Texas A&M University. While obtaining his Master’s he focused on the insecticide resistance of the cosmopolitan poultry pest known as the lesser mealworm (Alphitobius diaperinus). He continued his education in Justin Talley’s veterinary entomology lab at Oklahoma State University at Stillwater, Oklahoma where he got his Ph.D. in 2021. While at OSU, Brandon examined the interactions between insecticides and litter amendments and how they impact the efficacy with the lesser mealworm. Additionally, he studied the ovicidal effects of sublethal exposure to various insecticides and a litter amendment.
Brandon currently manages and coordinates the research activities for the Texas A&M Veterinary Laboratory on behalf of Dr. Phil Kaufman. I am interested in continuing my research on insecticide-induced Hormesis with the lesser mealworm and other livestock pests.
Sarah Mays Maestas, Ph.D
Sarah Mays Maestas is a postdoctoral research associate in the Texas A&M University Department of Entomology Veterinary Entomology Laboratory. Her research interest is in the ecology of zoonotic, vector-borne diseases that affect humans, companion animals, livestock, and wildlife. She is particularly interested in the interactions between pathogen vectors, human and animal hosts, and their environment. She has experience in field collection and identification of vectors, livestock and wildlife handling for on-host collection of vectors and vector control measures, and experience using molecular techniques for pathogen screening and identification. She also has experience using mapping tools to identify spatial relationships between vectors, hosts, and environmental variables. Her current research focus is on the host ecology and pathogen associations of soft ticks in south Texas.
Sarah completed her B.S. in Wildlife Management at Tarleton State University, an M.S. in Entomology and Plant Pathology at the University of Tennessee, and a Ph.D. in Entomology and Nematology at the University of Florida.
Emrah Ozel, Ph.D.
Emrah Ozel is a member of Kaufman Lab and he focuses on Brown Dog Tick (Rhipicephalus sanguineus) biology and management. He obtained his first Master’s degree in Zoology after his work on cave invertebrate fauna in Balıkesir region caves in Turkey. Next, he worked on Red Imported Fire Ant (Solenopsis invicta) population dynamics in Bastrop, TX region and earned his second Master’s degree from Texas State University. During his doctoral work, he focused on insect viruses, especially Heliothine nudiviruses that show promising symptoms for controlling Heliothine infestations. His current work focuses on screening permethrin resistance in Brown Dog Tick (Rhipicephalus sanguineus) populations, identifying phylogenetic lineages and discovering pathogens that are transmitted between hosts. He uses molecular and bioinformatics tools along with advanced equipment and computational resources to answer research questions.
Xinyue Huang, Ph.D.
My name is Xinyue Huang, PhD, and I am a postdoctoral researcher from Kaufman lab in the Department of Entomology at Texas A&M University. My Ph.D. research focus was on population genetics and resistance profile of vector mosquitoes, Culex quinquefasciatus and Aedes albopictus in Harris County, Texas. I am now working on ivermectin resistance in the cattle fever tick, Rhipicephalus microplus. R. microplus is an economically important tick that parasitizes a variety of livestock species preferentially cattle. Cross-resistance in multiple acaricides has been detected in R. microplus but our knowledge on exact molecular mechanism is limited in this species. Further investigation in biology and evolution of resistance in this species can assist in current vector management program and future pesticide development.
Lauren Beebe is a Ph.D. student working with Dr. Phillip Kaufman in the Veterinary and Livestock Entomology Laboratory. Her dissertation research focuses on stable flies, their mechanisms of resistance to pesticides, blood-meal host identification, and developmental response to temperature. Lauren received her MS from Texas A&M University with a focus in Forensic Entomology. During this time, she worked with Dr. Aaron Tarone studying the responses of blow fly larvae to extreme temperatures. She received her BS in Entomology and minored in Forensic Science at Purdue University.
Lauren has had a life-long passion for animals and fosters for a local rescue. She also competes in agility with one of her dogs and cares for a plethora of other animals at home.
Isaac S. Perez
Isaac Perez graduated from the University of Rio Grande Valley where he obtained his Bachelors in Biology. His interests include molecular biology, biotechnology, and genetics.
Isaac is now currently working for the Entomology department at Texas A&M University as a research assistant, studying insect vector research.
Howdy! I am a graduate of Texas A&M University class of ’21 with a B.S. in entomology. I began working in the lab as an undergraduate student worker in the fall of 2021 and continued as a full-time research assistant after graduation. I currently research the acaricide resistance, pathogen infectivity, and species lineage of Rhipicephalus sanguineus, and when not found doing research in the lab, you can find me helping with the maintenance and rearing of the lab’s tick colonies. I intend to continue a career in livestock entomology, pursuing a master’s and then a Ph.D. I am currently undecided on where I will continue my education but I hope to have the answer soon!
I intend to continue a career in livestock entomology, pursuing a master’s and then a Ph.D. I am currently undecided on where I will continue my education but I hope to have the answer soon!
Agricultural Research Worker
Howdy, my name is Molly Booth, I’m from Whitney, Texas. I work full-time in the Entomology department as a lab technician, and I care for our fly colony. I was very active in Whitney FFA participating in livestock judging all four years of high school, I was a Greenhand officer and an FFA officer my senior year, and both my Horticulture and Vegetable Production Proficiencies won State. I showed heifers and steers for 12 years. I was also active in the Texas Polled Hereford Association. I was Texas Polled Hereford Sweetheart for 4 years and Princess for 2 years, and I was Director for 8 years; holding various offices throughout those years. Some hobbies of mine include fishing, reading books, spending time with family and friends, and dancing.
I graduated with my associate degree in Ag science at Blinn College in 2021. I wish to soon further my education here at A&M. My grandfather (’58) and father (’86) both graduated from A&M, and I wish to continue that lineage. I plan to major in Ag leadership and development and build a career that promotes the role that agriculture plays in everyone’s lives.
I’m so excited to be a part of the work A&M does for the agriculture industry. Agriculture was and will always be a big part of my life. School has always been extremely difficult for me, but I found that I could excel in the ag programs that were available for me. This led to my determination to pursue a degree and career in the agricultural community. Being able to work for A&M in this field is truly an amazing opportunity, that I’m so grateful for.
Student Research Assistant
Howdy, I am Megan Bindseil and I am from San Antonio, Texas. I am a part of the class of 2025, pursuing a double major in Animal Science and Entomology. I am wanting to go to vet school to pursue a career as a small and large animal veterinarian. I grew up with a ranching background. My family had a small commercial herd of Angora Goats and Rambouillet sheep. From elementary to high school I was a part of 4-H and FFA Showing animals and competing in events. Once I got to high school I became involved in the swine industry since my high school had a breeding swine program. Through that program, I was able to see everything from start to finish. I mostly helped out a lot in the farrowing house in the summer helping deliver piglets. As a child, I attended summer bug camps put on by the county’s Integrated Pest Management Program Specialist. I also remember coming up to Texas A&M for a bug camp in the Heep Building.
Student Research Assistant
Howdy, I’m a student research assistant working in the Veterinary and Livestock Entomology Laboratory. My general research interests include plants, parasites, primates, and insects. I frequently travel to Costa Rica to study Alouatta palliata, the mantled howler monkey’s health, and population status. Completed a USDA internship in Beltsville, Maryland, from 2020-2021 and published on Trichinella spiralis, a nematode found in pork. I’m a horticulture undergraduate working to enter a graduate program in plant pathology.
Student Research Assistant
My name is Kate-Riley Rogers, and I am a senior undergraduate student at Texas A&M University currently double majoring in Biomedical Sciences and Entomology with minors in Business and Philosophy. In the lab, I am an Undergraduate Research Assistant with the primary roles of conducting PCR and gel electrophoresis techniques to generate genetic data for animal disease vectors and performing routine lab maintenance, inventory, and organization to ensure that lab activities can be performed safely and efficiently. In the summer of 2022, I had the opportunity to travel to Thailand for a study abroad program where I explored and studied conservation efforts for coral reefs, elephants, and the rainforest which has broadened my horizons substantially. My primary career interest is field research in wildlife and habitat conservation disciplines, so once I graduate, I hope to pursue a Master’s degree in Conservation Science to deepen my knowledge in these respective fields. Ultimately, I am fascinated with the disease ecology of wildlife populations and how human intervention influences the impact of disease vectors on these affected populations. I hope to blend my interests in veterinary medicine, entomology, and conservation into a comprehensive career that actively improves the state of public and environmental health.
Student Research Assistant
Howdy! My name is Macy Strain and I am a member of the Texas A&M class of 2025 with a double major in Forensic and Investigative Science and Entomology. In the lab, I am a student worker helping to maintain our stable fly colonies. In the future, I plan on pursuing a career in academia and becoming a board-certified forensic entomologist.
I am very interested in research in forensic entomology, particularly with different chemical or environmental factors impacting insect colonization and development in forensic investigations. In the summer of 2022, I was able to participate in field research studying forensically important flies as a part of a study abroad program in Trinidad.
Former Research Assistant
Howdy! My name is Lizzy Baucom (the “au” pronounced the same as in Kaufman). I graduated from Texas A&M with my bachelor’s in Animal Science and an undergraduate Equine Certificate. I worked at the Kaufman lab as a Research Assistant from 2021-2022. I had a great time learning about the world of Entomology, meeting exciting new people, doing fun stuff with bugs, and working on interesting research projects. While I don’t miss being bitten by flies and playing with cow poop, I do miss my all-time favorite coworkers, undergrads, and boss(es). I hope my new position as a Research Engineering Scientist Assistant at UT in Austin will provide (but not replace) similar learning experiences and happiness. If you’re ever in town, come see me sometime and we can grab a bite to eat at one of Austin’s many unique restaurants or food trucks! That’s all for now. Thanks & Gig ‘Em.