Occi, James

James L. Occi, PhD (candidate)Occi
Research Teaching Specialist RNJMS
Center for Vector Biology, Department of Entomology Rutgers University
Newark, NJ

The Discovery of the “Asian long-horned tick,” Haemaphysalis longicornis, in New Jersey: A Combination of Perseverance, Luck and the Joy of Tick Collecting”

James (Jim) Occi is a microbiologist who has been involved in searching for new antibiotic entities for almost 30 years. He has done research in big pharma for over 20 years and continues this endeavor as a research microbiologist at New Jersey Medical School in the Department of Emerging Pathogens (Newark).  Jim is pursuing his PhD at Rutgers University at the Center for Vector Biology (New Brunswick) and wants to be a medical entomologist when he grows up. For his thesis, Jim is studying tick-borne diseases in New Jersey tick populations under the direction of Dr. Dina Fonseca. He has a BS and MA in Biology from Montclair State University and an MS in Microbiology from Seton Hall University.

Conference Lecture Summary

In November 2017 the USDA confirmed an infestation of the longhorned tick (Haemaphysalis longicornis) on a sheep in Hunterdon County, New Jersey. This tick is indigenous to parts of China, Korea and Japan where it typically feeds on cattle.  I will summarize the latest on where the longhorned tick has been found in the US and discuss ongoing research on its ecology, life cycle and possible involvement in transmission of tick-borne pathogens.