Douglas (Doug) E. Brackney

Image of Doug Brackney

Department of Environmental Sciences
The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station
123 Huntington Street
P.O. Box 1106
New Haven, CT 06504-1106
Voice: (203) 974-8475 Fax: (203) 974-8502

Dr. Brackney has expertise in the areas of virus-vector interactions, mosquito and tick innate immunity, RNA interference, autophagy and novel surveillance techniques specifically xenosurveillance.

B.S. University of Wisconsin, Madison (2001) Medical Microbiology and Immunology
Ph.D. Colorado State University, Fort Collins (2007) Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology

Post Graduate Career:
Post-Doctoral Fellow University of New Mexico, 2007-2011
Research Scientist Colorado State University,  2011-2014
Assistant Agricultural Scientist II, 2014-2019
Associate Agricultural Scientist, 2019-present 


Past Research:
Past research includes projects that have examined the interactions between arthropod-borne viruses and the vector mosquitoes which transmit them, specifically, in the context of mosquito factors involved in conditioning virus susceptibility.  These projects have focused on innate immunity, midgut serine proteases, RNA interference, and autophagy. Previous projects have also evaluated the transmission forces shaping West Nile virus and Powassan virus populations.  In addition, Dr. Brackney has worked with collaborators at Colorado State University developing and testing a novel surveillance technique, termed xenosurveillance, which utilizes the innate feeding behavior of mosquitoes to collect human blood samples in a simple and non-invasive manner.

Current Research:
Dr. Brackney’s current research projects are focused on understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms mediating virus-vector interactions using state-of-the-art techniques such as next-generation sequencing, and high-throughput RNAi screens. The three principle areas of interest are:

  • Elucidating key mosquito and viral factors responsible for mediating virus attachment and penetration of the mosquito midgut.
  • Elucidating the role of autophagy during flavivirus and alphavirus infection of arthropod vectors.
  • Determine if and which host and vector factors influence the population structure of arboviruses.



Grubaugh, N.D., Fauver, J.R., Rückert, C., Weger-Lucarelli, J., Garcia-Luna, S., Murrieta, R.A., Gendernalik, A., Smith, D.R., Brackney, D.E., and G.D. Ebel. Mosquitoes transmit unique West Nile virus populations during each feeding episode. Cell Rep. 2017 Apr 25;19(4):709-718. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2017.03.076.

Fauver, J.R., Gendernalik, A., Weger-Lucarelli, J., Grubaugh, N.D., Brackney, D.E., Foy, B.D., and G.D. Ebel. The use of xenosurveillance to detect human bacteria, parasites and viruses in mosquito bloodmeals. Am. J. Trop. Med. Hyg. 2017 May.

Doug E. Brackney. Implications of autophagy on arbovirus infection of mosquitoes. Cur. Opin. Insect Sci. 2017 Aug; 22:1-6.


Doug E. Brackney and Philip Armstrong. Transmission and evolution of tick-borne viruses. Current Opinion in Virology. 2016 Dec; 21:67-74. doi: 10.1016/j.coviro.2016.08.005

Grubaugh, N.D., Rückert, C, Armstrong, P.M., Bransfield, A, Anderson, J.F., Ebel, G.D., and D.E. Brackney. Transmission bottlenecks and RNAi collectively influence Powassan virus evolution. Virus Evolution. 2016 Oct 26;2(2). doi: 10.1093/ve/vew033.

Fauver, J.R, Grubaugh, N.D., Krajacich, B.J., Weger-Lucarelli, J., Lakin, S.M., Fakoli, L.S., Bolay, F.K., Diclaro, J.W., Dabiré, K.R., Foy, B.D., Brackney, D.E., Ebel, G.D., and M.D. Stenglein. West African Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes harbor a taxonomically diverse virome including new insect-specific flaviviruses, mononegaviruses, and totiviruses. Virology. 2016. 498:288-299.


Brackney D.E., Schirtzinger E.E., Harrison T.D., Ebel G.D., and K.A. Hanley. Modulation of flavivirus population diversity by RNA interference. J Virol. 2015 Apr 1;89(7)

Grubaugh N.D., Sharma S., Krajacich B.J., Fakoli II L.S., Bolay F.K., DiClaro II J.W., Johnson W.E., Ebel G.D., Foy B.D., D.E. Brackney. Xenosurveillance: a novel mosquito-based approach for examining the human-pathogen landscape. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2015 Mar 16;9(3).

Moon, S.L., Dodd, B.J., Brackney, D.E., Wilusz, C.J., Ebel, G.D., and J. Wilusz. Flavivirus sfRNA suppress antiviral RNA interference in cultured cells and mosquitoes and directly interacts with the RNAi machinery. Virology. 2015 Aug 28;485:322-329. doi: 10.1016/j.virol.2015.08.009.
Grubaugh, N.D., Smith, D.R., Brackney, D.E., Bosco-Lauth, A.M., Fauver, J.R., Campbell, C.L., Felix, T.A., Romo, H., Duggal, N.K., Dietrich, E.A., Eike, T., Beane, J.E., Bowen, R.A., Black, W.C., Brault, A.C., and G.D. Ebel. Experimental evolution of an RNA virus in wild birds: evidence for host-dependent impacts on population structure and competitive fitness. PLoS Pathog. 2015 May 20;11(5):e1004874. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1004874. eCollection 2015.


Krajacich, B.J., Slade, J.R., Mulligan, R.F., LaBrecque, B., Alout, H., Grubaugh, N.D., Meyers. J.I., Fakoli, L.S., Bolay, F.K., Brackney, D.E, Burton, T.A., Seaman, J.A., Diclaro, J.W. 2nd, Dabiré, R.K., and B.D. Foy. Sampling Host-Seeking Anthropophilic Mosquito Vectors in West Africa: Comparisons of An Active Human-Baited Tent-Trap against Gold Standard Methods. Am. J. Trop. Med. Hyg. 2014 Nov; pii: 14-0303.

Alout, H., Krajacich, B.J., Meyers J.I., Grubaugh, N.D., Brackney, D.E., Kobylinski, K.C., Diclaro, J.W. 2nd, Bolay, F.K., Fakoli, L.S., Diabate’, A., Dabire, R.K., Bougma, R.W., B.D. Foy. Evaulation of ivermectin mass drug administration for malaria transmission control across different West African environments. Malar J. 2014 Nov 3; 13(1):417


Prasad, A.N.*, Brackney D.E.*, and G.D.Ebel. Mosquito Innate Immunity to West Nile Virus. Viruses. 2013. 5(12). 3142-3170; doi:10.3390/v5123142 (* these authors contributed equally).


Macalalad, A.R., Zody, M.C., Charlebois, P., Lennon, N.J., Newman, R.M., Malboeuf, C.M., Ryan, E.M., Boutwell, C.L., Power, K.A., Brackney, D.E., Pesko, K.N., Levin, J.Z., Ebel, G.D., Allen, T.M., Birren, B.W., and M.R. Henn. Highly sensitive and specific detection of rare variants in mixed viral populations from massively parallel sequence data. PLoS Comput Biol. 2012 Mar. 15; 8(3):e1002417.

Brackney D.E., K.N. Pesko, I. K. Brown, E.R. Deardorff, J. Kawatachi, and G.D. Ebel. West Nile virus genetic diversity is maintained during transmission by Culex pipiens quinquefasciatus mosquitoes. PLoS One. 2011 Sept. 12; 6(9):e24466.


Brackney D.E., J.C. Scott, F. Sagawa, J.E. Woodward, N.A. Miller, F.D. Schilkey, J. Mudge, J. Wilusz, K.E. Olson, C.D. Blair, and G.D. Ebel. C6/36 Aedes albopictus cells have a dysfunctional antiviral RNA interference response. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2010 Oct 26; 4(10):e856.


Scott J.C., D.E. Brackney, C.L. Campbell,V. Bondu-Hawkins, B. Hjelle, G.D. Ebel, K.E. Olson, and C.D. Blair. Comparison of Dengue Virus Type 2-Specific Small RNAs from RNA Interference-Competent and –Incompetent Mosquito Cells. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2010 Oct 26; 4(10):e848. 


Fitzpatrick K.A., E. Deardorff, K. Pesko, D.E. Brackney, E. Bedrick, P.Y. Shi, and G.D. Ebel. Population variation of West Nile virus confers a host-specific fitness benefit in mosquitoes. Virology. 2010 Aug 15;404(1):89-95.


Brackney D.E., J. Isoe, G. Zamora, W.C. Black IV, B.D. Foy, R. Miesfeld, and K.E. Olson. Genome annotation and comparative analysis of Aedes aegypti midgut serine proteases. J Insect Physiol. 2010 Jul;56(7):736-44.

Brackney D.E., I.K. Brown, R.A. Nofchissey, K.A. Fitzpatrick, and G.D. Ebel. Homogeneity of Powassan virus populations in naturally infected Ixodes scapularis. Virology. 2010 Jul 5;402(2):366-71.



Brackney D.E., J. E. Beane, and G.D. Ebel. RNA interference targeting West Nile virus in mosquito midguts promotes virus diversification. PLoS Pathog. 2009. Jul. 5(7). 

Brackney D.E., R.A. Nofchissey, K.A. Fitzpatrick, I.K. Brown, and G.D. Ebel. Stable Prevalence of Powassan Virus in Ixodes scapularis in a Northern Wisconsin Focus. Am. J. Trop. Med. Hyg. 2008 Dec; 79(6): 971-973.

Brackney D.E., B.D. Foy, and K.E. Olson.  The Effects of Midgut Serine Proteases on Dengue Virus Type 2 Infectivity of  Aedes aegypti. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2008 Aug; 79 (2): 267-274.

Campbell C.L., K.M. Keene, D.E. Brackney, K.E. Olson, C.D. Blair J. Wilusz and B.D. Foy.  Aedes aegypti uses RNA interference in defense against Sindbis virus infection. BMC Microbiology. 2008. March 17; 8:47.

Magalhaes, T., D.E. Brackney, J.C. Beier and B.D. Foy. Silencing an Anopheles gambiae Catalase and Sulfhydryl Oxidase Increases Mosquito Mortality After a Bloodmeal. Arch Insect Biochem Physiol. 2008 Jul; 68 (3): 134-143.