Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Departmental Honors


Chemistry and Biochemistry


As the United States’ population grows, we develop more land into housing and recreate farther into wilderness areas, consequentially encountering ticks with increasing frequency. As the climate continues to change, tick population distributions are also changing, influencing our population’s exposure to tick-borne diseases. Lyme disease, a tick-borne disease named after Lyme, Connecticut, is one of the fastest growing emerging diseases in North America, and the most prevalent vector-borne infection in the United States. There are two species of tick in North America, Ixodes scapularis and Ixodes pacificus, known to be carriers of the causative agent of Lyme disease, a spirochete bacteria named Borrelia burdorferi. Ixodes pacificus is known to inhabit Utah. The status of Lyme disease transmission in Utah is a subject of ongoing investigation by the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) in collaboration with Utah State University. To better navigate this dynamic situation, an informed public is a great asset to researchers and public health professionals. Towards that end, this capstone project presents an animated Public Service Announcement (PSA) video deigned to better connect public viewers from outside academia and research to the ongoing investigation of Utah’s tick population. To better inform the public, the video focuses on the following topics: the nature of ticks as vectors of pathogens; the goals, methodologies, and findings of the original tick survey conducted in Utah; the role of Borrelia burgdorferi as the causative agent of Lyme disease and its clinical presentation; guidelines for preventing tick bites, safely removing ticks, recognizing symptoms of tick-borne infections, and seeking additional care and/or information. To emphasize key facets of information like the visual identity of I. pacificus and the concepts behind the methodologies of the original tick survey, animation served as the medium of choice.

Included in

Biochemistry Commons



Faculty Mentor

Scott Bernhardt

Departmental Honors Advisor

Sara Freeman