Jocelyn Riggins (Elson-Riggins)Ph.D., Cell and Molecular Biology
M.S., California State University, Long Beach, 1994
B.Sc., University College of North Wales, Bangor, 1989
Faculty advisor: Edward Platzer
Research topic: Characterization of Otostrongylus circumlitus, a lungworm of seals, and host-parasite interaction in harbor and northern elephant seals
Research interests: I am working on a nematode parasite of seals, Otostrongylus circumlitus. Along the central California coast, this nematode is found in Pacific harbor seals (Phoca vitulina richardsi) and northern elephant seals (Mirounga angustirostris). There are pronounced differences in the infection in these two host species. The effects of the worm are more serious in northern elephant seals than Pacific harbor seals. Furthermore, the infection is very difficult to diagnose in northern elephant seals. Using morphological and molecular methods my research has shown that O. circumlitis from these two hosts is indistinguishable. Currently, I am determining which O. circumlitus tissues are responsible for the host immune response, with the eventual aim of developing a diagnostic test for infection. Finally, I am examining the structure of the excretory-secretory system of this nematode.
Elson-Riggins, J.G., L. Al-Banna, E.G. Platzer, and I. Kaloshian. 2001. Characterization of Otostrongylus circumlitus from Pacific harbor and northern elephant seals. Journal of Parasitology 87: 73-78.