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Heather Ketchum

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Heather Ketchum

Associate Professor

Ph.D., Texas A&M University, Entomology

M.S. Biology, California State Polytechnic State University

B.S. Biology, University of California at Riverside, San Luis Obispo

405-325-4354 (Phone)


RH 404


My laboratory conducts research (both in the field and in the lab), examines both criminal and civil case evidence and trains criminal justice professionals in Medicocriminal Forensic Entomology. Recent research has focused on 1) factors that affect insect activity on carrion and the impact this has on the rate of decomposition and therefore postmortem interval (PMI) estimates, 2) insect succession to carrion, and 3) isolation of drugs from maggots that have fed on treated carcasses. The data collected in our laboratory is often used in homicide, abuse and neglect cases to determine PMI. In addition to the Forensic Entomology research, I also collaborate with other universities on tick ecology research projects. Currently, I am collaborating with several research scientists at Texas A&M University, Oklahoma State University, and Florida State University on the application of weather dynamics to predict population changes and enhance IPM strategies for the Gulf Coast tick. Much of this research has been conducted with undergraduate students; however, I do work with graduate students.


  • Teel, P.D., H.R. Ketchum, D.E. Mock, R.E. Wright, and O.F. Strey. (2010). The Gulf Coast Tick: A review of the Life History, Ecology, Distribution, and Emergence as an Arthropod of Medical and Veterinary Importance. J Med Entomol. 47:707-722.
  • Ketchum, H.R., C.J. Coates, P.D. Teel, and O.F. Strey. (2009). Genetic diversity of the Gulf Coast tick, Amblyomma maculatum Koch, a potential vector of heartwater. J Med Entomol. 46:482-489.