Douglas (Doug) E. Brackney

Image of Doug Brackney

Department of Entomology
The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station
123 Huntington Street
New Haven, CT 06511
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, 2019-2024

Agricultural Scientist, 2024-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 principal 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.


LaReau, J. C., Hyde, J.,  Brackney, D. E., and Steven, B. (2023). Introducing an environmental microbiome to axenic Aedes aegypti mosquitoes documents bacterial responses to a blood meal. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. DOI: 10.1128/aem.00959-23

Johnson, R. M., Cozens, D. W., Ferdous, Z., Armstrong, P. M., and Brackney, D. E. (2023). Increased blood meal size and feeding frequency compromise Aedes aegypti midgut integrity and enhance dengue virus dissemination. PLoS NTD17(11). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0011703


Brackney, D. E. and Vogels, C. B. F. (2023). The known unknown of Powassan virus ecology. J. Med Ent. 60(6), 1142-1148. DOI: 10.1093/jme/tjad095

Holcomb, K. M., Khalil, N., Cozens, D. W., Cantoni, J. L.,  Brackney, D. E., Linske, M. A., Williams, S. C., Molaei, G., and Eisen, R. J. (2023). Comparison of acarological risk metrics derived from active and passive surveillance and their concordance with tick-borne disease incidence. Ticks & Tick-borne Dis. 14(6). DOI: 10.1016/j.ttbdis.2023.102243

Hyde, J.,  Brackney, D. E., and Steven, B. (2023). Three species of axenic mosquito larvae recruit a shared core of bacteria in a common garden experiment. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. DOI: 10.1128/aem.00778-23

Vogels, C. B. F.,  Brackney, D. E., Dupuis, A. P. II, Robich, R. M., Fauver, J. R., Brito, A. F., Williams, S. C., Anderson, J. F., Lubelczyk, C. B., Lange R. E., Prusinski, M. A., Kramer, L. D., Gangloff-Kaufmann, J. L., Goodman, L. B., Baele, G., Smith, R. P., Armstrong, P. M., Ciota A. T., Dellicour, S., and Grubaugh, N. D. (2023). Phylogeographic reconstruction of the emergence and spread of Powassan virus in the northeastern United States. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. 120(16), e2218012120. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2218012120

Wang, Y., Griffiths, A.,  Brackney, D. E., and Verardi, P. H. (2022). Generation of multiple arbovirus-like particles using a rapid recombinant vaccinia virus expression vector. Pathogens, 11(12), 1505. 10.3390/pathogens11121505.

Bransfield, A. B., Miscencik, M. J.,  Brackney, D. E., and Armstrong, P. M. (2022). Limited capacity of Aedes aegypti to mechanically transmit chikungunya virus and dengue virus. Am. J. Trop. Med. Hyg. 107(6), 1239-124. DOI: 10.4269/ajtmh.22-0323

Gloria-Soria, A.,  Brackney, D. E., Armstrong, P. M. (2022). Saliva collection via capillary method may underestimate arboviral transmission by mosquitoes. Parasites and Vectors. 15,103. DOI: 10.1186/s13071-022-05198-7


Brackney, D. E., and Peccia, J.  (2022). Predicting daily COVID-19 case rates from SARS-CoV-2 RNA concentrations across a diversity of wastewater catchments. FEMS Microbe, 2. DOI: 10.1093/femsmc/xtab022


Brackney, D. E. (2021). Vector Competence of human-biting ticks Ixodes scapularisAmblyomma americanum, and Dermacentor variabilis for Powassan virus. Parasites and Vectors, 14(1). DOI: 10.1186/s13071-021-04974-1


Brackney, D. E. (2021). The axenic and gnotobiotic mosquito: emerging models for microbiome host interactions. Front. Microbiol., 12. DOI: 10.3389/fmicb.2021.714222


Brackney, D. E., Connor, J. H., Colpitts, T. M., Hughes, G. L., Rasgon, J. L., Nolan, T., Akbari, O. S., and Lau, N. C. (2021). A mosquito small RNA genome resource reveals dynamic evolution and host responses to viruses and transposons. Genome Res., 31(3). DOI: 10.1101/gr.265157.120


Brackney, D. E., Lareau, J. C., and Smith, R. C.  (2021). Frequency Matters: How successive feeding episodes by blood-feeding insect vectors influences disease transmission. PLoS Path., 17(6). DOI: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1009590


Brackney, D. E., LaBonte, A. M., Stuber, H. R., and Cozens, D. W. (2021). Effective control of the motile stages of Amblyomma americanum and reduced Ehrlichia spp. prevalence in adults via permethrin treatment of white-tailed deer in coastal Connecticut, USA. Ticks and Tick-borne Diseases, 12(3). DOI: 10.1016/j.ttbdis.2021.101675


Brackney, D. E., Cassanovas-Massana, A., Campbell, M., Fournier, J., Bermejo, S., Datta, R., Delacruz, C. S., Farhadian, S. F., Iwasaki, A., Ko, A. I., Grubaugh, N. D., Wyllie, A. L., and Yale IMPACT Research Team. (2020). Increased SARS-CoV-2 testing capacity with pooled saliva samples. Emerg. Infect. Dis., 27(4). DOI: 10.3201/eid2704.204200


Vogels, C. B. F., Watkins, A. E., Harden, C. A., Brackney, D. E., Shafer, J., Wang, J., Carabello, C., Kalinich, C. C., Ott, I. M., Fauver, J. R., Kudo, E., Lu, P., Venkataraman, V., Tokuyama, M., Moore, A. J., Muenker, M. C., Casanovas-Massana, A., Fournier, J., Bermejo, S., Campbell, M., Datta, R., Nelson, A., Yale IMPACT Research Team, Dela Cruz, C. S., Ko, A. I., Iwasaki, A., Krumholz, H. M., Matheus, J. D., Hui, P., Liu, C., Farhadian, S. F., Sikka, R., Wyllie, A. L., N. D. Grubaugh. (2020). SalivaDirect: A simplified and flexible platform to enhance SARS-CoV-2 testing capacity. Med, 2(3). DOI: 10.1016/j.medj.2020.12.010


Kudo, E., Israelow, B., Vogels, C. B. F., Lu, P., Wyllie, A. L., Tokuyama, M., Venkataraman, A., Brackney, D. E., Ott, I. M., Petrone, M. E., Earnest, R., Lapidus, S., Muenker, M. C., Moore, A. J., Cassanovas-Massana, A., Yale IMPACT Research Team, Omer, S. B., Delacruz, C. S., Farhadian, S. F., Ko, A. I., Grubaugh, N. D., and A. Iwasaki. (2020). Detection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA by multiplex RT-qPCR. PLoS Biol., 18(10), e3000867. 10.1371/journal.pbio.3000867


Peccia, J.*, Zulli, A.*, Brackney, D. E.*, Grubaugh, N. D., Kaplan, E. H., Casanovas-Massana, A., Ko, A. I., Malik, A. A., Wang, D., Wang, M., Warren, J. L., Weinberger, D. M., Arnold, W., and S. B. Omer. (2020). Measurement of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in wastewater tracks community infection dynamics. Nat. Biotech., 38(10), 1164-1167. (* denotes co-first author)


Hyde, J., Correa, M. A., Hughes, G. L., Steven, B., and Brackney, D. E. (2020). Limited influence of the microbiome on the transcriptional profile of female Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. Scientific Reports, 10(1), 1-12.


Brackney, D. E., Correa, M. A., D. W. Cozens. (2020). The impacts of autophagy on arbovirus infection of mosquito cells. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 14(5), e0007754.


Armstrong, P. M., Ehrlich, H. Y., Magalhaes, T., Miller, M. R., Conway, P. J., Bransfield, A., Misencik, M. J., Gloria-Soria, A., Warren, J. L., Andreadis, T. G., Shepard, J. J., Foy, B. D., Pitzer, V. E., and Brackney, D. E. (2020). Successive blood meals enhance virus dissemination within mosquitoes and increase transmission potential. Nat. Micro., 5(2), 239-247.


Uraki, R., Hastings, A. K., Brackney, D. E., Armstrong, P. M., and Fikrig, E. (2019). AgBR1 antibodies delay lethal mosquito-borne West Nile virus infection in mice. NPJ Vaccines, 4, 23. DOI: 10.1038/s41541-019-0120-x


Hyde, J., Gorman, C., Brackney, D. E., and Steven, B. (2019). Antibiotic resistant bacteria and commensal fungi are common and conserved in the mosquito microbiome. PLoS One, 14(8), e0218907.


Grubaugh, N. D., Gangavarapu, K., Quick, J., Matteson, N. L., De Jesus, J. G., Main, B. J., Tan, A. L., Paul, L. M., Brackney, D. E., Grewal, S., Gurfield, N., Van Rompay, K. K. A., Isern, S., Michael, S. F., Coffey, L. L., Loman, N. J., and K. G. Andersen. (2019). An amplicon-based sequencing framework for accurately measuring intrahost virus diversity using PrimalSeq and iVar. Genome Biology, 20(1).


Correa, M. A., Matusovsky, B., Brackney, D. E.*, and Steven, B.* (2018). Axenic Aedes aegypti develop without live bacteria, but exhibit delayed development and reduced oviposition. Nat Comm., 9(1), 4464. (* co-corresponding)


Weger-Lucarelli, J., Rückert, C., Grubaugh, N. D., Misencik, M. J., Armstrong, P. M., Stenglein, M. D., Ebel, G. D., and Brackney, D. E. (2018). Adventitious viruses persistently infect three commonly used mosquito cell lines. Virology, 521, 175-180.


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 Ebel, G. D. (2017). Mosquitoes transmit unique West Nile virus populations during each feeding episode. Cell Rep19(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 Ebel, G. D. (2017). The use of xenosurveillance to detect human bacteria, parasites and viruses in mosquito bloodmeals. Am. J. Trop. Med. Hyg.


Brackney, D. E. Implications of autophagy on arbovirus infection of mosquitoes. (2017). Cur. Opin. Insect Sci.22, 1-6.


Brackney, D. E. and Armstrong, P. M. (2016). Transmission and evolution of tick-borne viruses. Current Opinion in Virology, 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 Brackney, D. E. (2016). Transmission bottlenecks and RNAi collectively influence Powassan virus evolution. Virus Evolution, 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 Stenglein, M. D. (2016). West African Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes harbor a taxonomically diverse virome including new insect-specific flaviviruses, mononegaviruses, and totiviruses. Virology, 498, 288-299.


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


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., Brackney, D. E. (2015). Xenosurveillance: a novel mosquito-based approach for examining the human-pathogen landscape. PLoS Negl. Trop. Dis., 9(3), 10.1371/journal.pntd.0003628


Moon, S. L., Dodd, B. J., Brackney, D. E., Wilusz, C. J., Ebel, G. D., and Wilusz, J. (2015). Flavivirus sfRNA suppress antiviral RNA interference in cultured cells and mosquitoes and directly interacts with the RNAi machinery. Virology, 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 Ebel, G. D.. (2015). Experimental evolution of an RNA virus in wild birds: evidence for host-dependent impacts on population structure and competitive fitness. PLoS Pathog. 11(5), e1004874. DOI: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1004874.
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. II, Dabiré, R. K., and Foy, B.D.. (2014). 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., pii: 14-0303.
Alout, H., Krajacich, B. J., Meyers J. I., Grubaugh, N. D., Brackney, D. E., Kobylinski, K. C., Diclaro, J. W. II, Bolay, F. K., Fakoli, L. S., Diabate’, A., Dabire, R. K., Bougma, R. W., Foy, B.D.. (2014). Evaulation of ivermectin mass drug administration for malaria transmission control across different West African environments. Malar J., 13(1), 417.
Prasad, A. N.*, Brackney, D. E.*, and Ebel, G. D. (2013). Mosquito Innate Immunity to West Nile Virus. Viruses5(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 Henn, M. R. (2012). Highly sensitive and specific detection of rare variants in mixed viral populations from massively parallel sequence data. PLoS Comput. Biol., 8(3), e1002417.
Brackney, D. E., Pesko, K. N., Brown, I. K., Deardorff, E. R., Kawatachi, J., and Ebel, G. D. (2011). West Nile virus genetic diversity is maintained during transmission by Culex pipiens quinquefasciatus mosquitoes. PLoS One, 6(9), e24466.
Brackney, D. E., Scott, J. C., F. Sagawa, J. E. Woodward, Miller, N. A., Schilkey, F. D., Mudge, J., Wilusz, J. Olson, K. E., Blair, C. D., and Ebel, G. D. (2010). C6/36 Aedes albopictus cells have a dysfunctional antiviral RNA interference response. PLoS Negl. Trop. Dis. 4(10), e856.
Scott, J. C., Brackney, D. E., Campbell, C. L., Bondu-Hawkins, V., Hjelle, B., Ebel, G. D., Olson, K. E., and Blair, C. D. (2010). Comparison of Dengue Virus Type 2-Specific Small RNAs from RNA Interference-Competent and –Incompetent Mosquito Cells. PLoS Negl. Trop. Dis., 4(10), e848.
Fitzpatrick, K. A., Deardorff, E., Pesko, K. N., Brackney, D. E., Bedrick, E., Shi, P. Y., and Ebel, G. D. (2010). Population variation of West Nile virus confers a host-specific fitness benefit in mosquitoes. Virology, 404(1), 89-95.
Brackney, D. E., Isoe, J., Zamora, G., Black IV, W. C., Foy, B. D., Miesfeld, R., and Olson, K. E. (2010). Genome annotation and comparative analysis of Aedes aegypti midgut serine proteases. J. Insect Physiol., 56(7), 736-44.
Brackney, D. E., I. K. Brown, R. A. Nofchissey, K. A. Fitzpatrick, and Ebel, G. D. (2010). Homogeneity of Powassan virus populations in naturally infected Ixodes scapularis. Virology402(2), 366-71.
Brackney, D. E., Beane, J. E., and Ebel, G. D. (2009). RNA interference targeting West Nile virus in mosquito midguts promotes virus diversification. PLoS Pathog.5(7). 
Brackney, D. E., Nofchissey, R. A., Fitzpatrick, K. A., Brown, I. K., and Ebel, G. D. (2008). Stable Prevalence of Powassan Virus in Ixodes scapularis in a Northern Wisconsin Focus. Am. J. Trop. Med. Hyg., 79(6), 971-973.
Brackney, D. E., Foy, B. D., and Olson, K. E. (2008). The Effects of Midgut Serine Proteases on Dengue Virus Type 2 Infectivity of Aedes aegypti. Am. J. Trop. Med. Hyg., 79(2), 267-274.
Campbell, C. L., Keene, K. M., Brackney, D. E., Olson, K. E., Blair, C. D., Wilusz, J., and Foy, B. D. (2008). Aedes aegypti uses RNA interference in defense against Sindbis virus infection. BMC Microbiology, (8), 47.
Magalhaes, T., Brackney, D. E., Beier, J. C. and Foy, B. D. (2008). Silencing an Anopheles gambiae Catalase and Sulfhydryl Oxidase Increases Mosquito Mortality After a Bloodmeal. Arch. Insect Biochem. Physiol., 68(3), 134-143.