Clara L. Shaw

Clara Shaw
Professional Title
Assistant Professor

Link to Dr. Shaw's website


  • B.A., 2010, Biochemistry, Oberlin College
  • M.A., 2013, Curriculum and Instruction, University of Mississippi
  • Ph.D., 2019,  Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Michigan

Research and Teaching Interests

My research focuses on the ecology and evolution of novel interactions between pathogens and hosts. Novel disease emergence has been occurring with increasing frequency, and it's important for conservation, agriculture, and human wellbeing to understand how and why this is occurring. My recent work discovered characteristics of initial spillover outbreaks that lead to disease emergence instead of pathogen extinction in host populations. I'm particularly interested in understanding how environmental conditions modulate the infectivity of pathogens, the severity of successful infections, transmission dynamics, and pathogen evolution. Such topics are important for understanding disease emergence in a changing climate. I use a model system - Caenorhabditis nematode hosts and their viruses - to conduct ecological and evolutionary experiments in the lab.

Recent Publications

Shaw, C. L. & Duffy, M. A. Rapid evolution of a bacterial parasite during outbreaks in two Daphnia populations. (Accepted at Ecology and Evolution)

Shaw, C. L. & Kennedy, D. A. (2022). Developing a model for spillover and emergence: Orsay virus host range in Caenorhabditis. Proceedings B. 289, 20221165.


Shaw, C. L., Bilich, R. W., O’Brien, B., Cáceres, C. E., Hall, S. R., James, T. Y., Duffy, M. A. (2021). Genotypic variation in an ecologically important parasite is associated with host species, lake, and spore size. Parasitology. 148, 1303-1312.

Shaw, C. L, Kennedy, D. A. (2021) What the reproductive number R0 can and cannot tell us about COVID19 dynamics. Theoretical Population Biology, 137, 2-9.


Shaw, C. L., Hall, S. R., Overholt, E. P., Cáceres, C. E., Williamson, C. E., Duffy, M. A. (2020). Shedding light on environmentally transmitted parasites: lighter conditions within lakes restrict epidemic size. Ecology, 101, e03168.


Molecular Biology, Virology

Hobbies & Interests

Running, Nordic skiing, baking & cooking, coffee shops