Diane Caporale, Ph.D.

Professor of Molecular Biology and Genetics

Office: CBB 343
Phone: (715) 346-3922
Fax: (715) 346-3624
Email: dcaporal@uwsp.edu


Ph.D., Genetics - U. of New Hampshire (1994)
M.A.T., Biology Sec Ed. - U. of New Hampshire (1984)
B.A., Biology - U. of Vermont (1982)


Biology 160 - Introduction to Animal Biology

Biology 210 - Principles of Genetics

Biology 312/512 - Human Genetics

Biology 315/519 - Principles of Molecular Biology

Biology 490 - Seminar: Molecular Biology


My Faculty Home Page​


Professional Affliliations


Honors and Awards

2010 Professional of the Year, Cambridge Who's Who top 1%
2009 University Excellence in Teaching Award, UWSP
2009 Biology Faculty Recognition Award: Excellence in Teaching, College of Letters and Science, UWSP
2007 Professional Executive of the Year Nominee in Empire’s Who’s Who
2006 Biology Faculty Recognition Award: Excellence in Scholarship, College of Letters and Science, UWSP
2006 Empire Who’s Who V.I.P. Member
2006 Great Women of the 21st Century and Woman of the Year Nominee of the American Biographical Institute



2009 Undergraduate Educative Initiative Grant. Kinship of southern flying squirrels in Schmeeckle Reserve; Gender identity of 100 Eastern and Western Meadowlarks using DNA fingerprinting ($6,255)
2009 Undergraduate Research Grants. With Kelly VanBeek ($500) and Wyatt Wiedenfeld ($500)
2009 Summer Undergraduate Education Initiative Grant. Molecular Characterization of Borrelia burgdorferi Kettle Moraine Isolate W97F51. With Maria Kuzynski ($1,430)
2008 Lab Modernization Grant, UWSP ($38,150)
2008 Undergraduate Education Initiative Grant. Using molecular techniques to help distinguish between two Surnella meadowlark species and identify each bird's gender. With Ben Kramlich, Wyatt Wiedenfeld, Amanda Nowak and Maria Kuzynski (3,745)
2008 Undergraduate Research Grant. With Ben Kramlich ($500)
2007 Summer Undergraduate Education Initiative Grant. Genetic diversity of Borrelia burgdorferi in Wisconsin using an IGS chromosomal region. With Heather Jackson and Maria Kuzynski ($3,000)
2007 Undergraduate Education Initiative Grant. Prevalence of pathogens in Deer Ticks from Schmeeckle Reserve With Erin Fischer, Cole Biechler and Chris Merkes. ($3,515)
2007 Lab Modernization Grant, UWSP ($38,150)
2007 Undergraduate Research Grant. With Erin Fischer ($500)
2006 National Institutes of Health AREA Grant. Genetic diversity of Borrelia burgdorferi in Wisconsin ($102,000), Unfunded
2006 UPDC Grant. Molecular characterization of a potentially new Lyme disease-causing Borrelia species from Wisconsin, UWSP ($4,980)
2006 Undergraduate Education Initiative Grant. Molecular characterization of Borrelia burgdorferi isolate W07F51. With Yihan Lin and Josh Larson ($5,405)
2006 Lab Modernization Grants, UWSP (Four grants totaling $101,600)
2006 L&S Enhancement Grant. DNA fingerprinting of Borrelia burgdorferi s.l. species suggest Wisconsin isolate W97F51 as a possible novel species, UWSP ($978)
2006 Undergraduate Research Grants. With Yihan Lin ($500), Josh Larson ($500) and Kala Rettler, UWSP ($500)


Research Areas

DNA is a molecule with an enormous amount of potential to be used to answer a wide variety of questions. Over the years, I’ve had many students use molecular techniques to try to identify organisms, at the individual level and population level, as well as species level. Students and I have worked with a wide variety of organisms, from viruses to humans and from living to 2000 year old corn cobs. I typically work with 4-5 students each year to answer a question they would like to address or own of my own. Below is a description of a couple of on-going projects students and I have been investigating.

Tick-Borne Pathogen Studies

Lyme disease, the most common tick-borne disease in the U.S., has been spreading rapidly in the Northeast and upper Midwestern states over the last decade. My research is based on searching for possible evolutionary mechanisms for the spread of the disease. Research students and I have previously looked at the spread of tick-borne pathogens in Wisconsin from the Kettle Moraine region, Colfax, Nine Mile Forest, Schmeeckle Reserve, Stockton, and the Marinette / Menominee region. I work with students who investigate the coinfection rates of tick-borne diseases, such as Babesiosis, Human Granulocytic Anaplasmosis, Lyme disease, and Encephalitis, in areas of Wisconsin where deer tick populations are spreading. DNA fingerprinting, PCR, and DNA Sequencing methods are used to identify the different pathogens in ticks, birds, mice, and other mammals in Wisconsin. Other research methods include flagging, trapping, tick dissection, cell culturing, RAPDs, and gel electrophoresis.

Lyme Disease Borrelia Population Study

Several strains of Borrelia burgdorferi, the causative agent of Lyme disease, have been identified in Wisconsin. Students and I are investigating the movement of these strains across the state. Population distributions of these strains can determine whether different strains are more localized, where they may have originated, and perhaps how long they’ve been evolving in the Upper Midwest.


Select Publications

2010 Humphrey, P., D.A. Caporale, and D. Brisson. Uncoordinated phylogeography of Borrelia burgdorferi and its tick vector, Ixodes scapularis. Evolution. in press.
2005 Caporale, D.A., C.M. Johnson, and B.J. Millard. Prevalence of Borrelia burgdorfer (Spirochaetares: Spirochaetacae) in Southern Kettle Moraine Forest, Wisconsin and Characterization of Strain W97F51. Journal of Medical Entomology. 42(3): 457-472.


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