Thematic Groups

VBRN Thematic Groups are comprised of research scientists interested in collaborating and building on their research programs within a given theme. VBRN is helping support faculty with shared research interests through seed funding for meetings, symposia, speakers, and workshops associated with these collaborative thematic research groups. If you would like to join one of our thematic groups below please reach out to the group contact. If you have collaborators and are interested in becoming a new VBRN thematic group, contact us at and we will send you information about the short application process.

Not ready to join an existing thematic group or form a new one? Would you like to find other scientists also seeking collaborators with shared research interests?  Consider joining our Collaboration Directory.

Disease Ecology Working Group

The Disease Ecology Working Group links researchers from academic and non-academic institutions studying various aspects of wildlife disease, disease ecology and immunogenetics throughout the state of Vermont. The group includes faculty from multiple VBRN baccalaureate partner institutions (BPIs) and provides collaborative scientific support to its members which might otherwise be scarce at primarily undergraduate institutions.

On August 4, 2021, the Vermont Disease Ecology Research Group met for their annual summer research symposium in-person at Norwich University. This year five faculty, 10 undergraduates, two graduate students, and two research scientists from six institutions (Norwich University, Middlebury College, Saint Michael’s College, Dartmouth, the University of Vermont, and Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department) presented progress on their research in the areas of trematode and malaria parasites, fish viruses, ranaviruses in amphibians, toxic blue green algae blooms, and the ecology of lyme disease. Research presentation titles of all presenters is available here.

DEWG Contact:

Dr. Allison Neal, Associate Professor of Biology
Norwich University
(802) 485-2343

Vermont Initiative for Biological and Environmental Surveillance (VIBES)

VIBES is a multidisciplinary group of scientists, engineers, faculty, staff, students, wastewater treatment professionals, and state officials from various Vermont institutions that are partnering in a collaborative effort to conduct wastewater surveillance for the SARS-CoV-2 virus and develop wastewater-based risk assessment tools for COVID-19 and other environmental health hazards in Vermont.

VIBES Position Statement [Download]

VIBES Contact

Dr. Karen Hinkle, Associate Provost for Research and Dana Professor of Biology
Norwich University
(802) 485-2341