Dana Shaw

Dana Shaw

Associate Professor

Affiliate and Adjunct Appointments

  • Affiliate, Paul G. Allen School for Global Health
  • Affiliate, School of Molecular Biosciences


  • Post-doctoral training, University of Maryland, School of Medicine, 2017
  • PhD, Texas A&M University Health Science Center, 2013
  • BS, California State University, Fresno, 2007

Research Interest

  • Vector-borne disease
  • Microbiology
  • Arthropod immunity
  • Tick-borne diseases
  • Innate immune signaling

Research in the Shaw lab is broadly focused on tick-transmitted diseases.

  • Ticks are the most important disease vectors in the United States and are a growing threat due to expanding habitats and longer active periods. In 2014, 94% of all vector-borne disease cases reported in the U.S. were attributable to ticks. The North American deer tick, Ixodes scapularis, alone can transmit up to 7 pathogens relevant to human and animal health including those that cause Lyme disease, Anaplasmosis and Encephalitis.
  • Current strategies for controlling tick-borne diseases hinge on preventing exposure and developing treatments for infected individuals. Various issues hinder the ability to combat tick-borne disease including the lack of commercially available vaccines, misdiagnosis and the emergence of drug resistance. Limiting the spread of disease by targeting pathogens within the arthropod before they can be transmitted is an attractive solution to these problems
  • The arthropod’s immune system is a major factor that influences vector competence (the ability of arthropods to acquire, maintain and transmit microbial agents). However, unlike insects, comparatively little is known about immune processes in ticks. The Shaw lab aims to address this gap by using a multidisciplinary approach that integrates immunology, microbiology and entomology to understand how and why vector-borne pathogens persist in ticks.


Professional Service

  • American Society for Rickettsiology Councilor at large and Scientific Review Committee member
  • Review Editor for Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology (part of Frontiers in Microbiology), Frontiers in Physiology, Chronobiology, Frontiers in Insect Science – Insect Physiology, Frontiers in Parasite Immunology (part of Frontiers in Immunology),
  • Grant proposal reviewer for NIAID Vector Biology study section, NIAID special emphasis panel for Vaccine Development and Vector Biology, Department of Defense Tick-Borne Disease Research Program (TBDRP), and the Institut Pasteur’s Programmes Transversaux de Recherche
  • Ad hoc reviewer for the following journals: Cell, PNAS, Trends in Genetics, mBio, PLoS Pathogens, PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, PLoS ONE, Scientific Reports, Infection and Immunity, Molecular Ecology, Frontiers in Immunology, Frontiers Cellular and Infection Microbiology, Cellular Microbiology, Parasites and Vectors, Pathogens and Disease, Veterinary Sciences, Pathogens, Insects
  • Organized and hosted the Virtual Vector Biology Seminar Series II with Kelly Brayton. (July 17, 2020 – Sept. 11, 2020)

Honors and Awards

  • WSU Pacesetter Award, 2023
  • G. Caroline Engle Distinguished Professorship in Research on Infectious Diseases, 2022-present
  • G. Caroline Engle Faculty Fellow, 2021

Current Grant Support

  • R01 AI162819 NIH/NIAD; PI: Shaw; Tick-Pathogen Interactions: Exploring the Intersection between Stress Responses and Immunity