Joyce Sakamoto


Assistant Research Professor


  • Agriculture

Focus Areas:

  • Entomology


  • Investigation of tick community composition over time using passive surveillance data and museum specimens
  • Investigation of tick microbial communities, particularly the transmission of and interactions between endosymbiotic bacteria
  • Tick behavior and natural history of ticks off-host

Joyce Sakamoto is an assistant research professor of entomology and studies microbial ecology at the host population level in multiple arthropod systems (including ticks). Her research covers three broad topics: 1) population genetics of ticks, 2) dynamics of tick microbiomes and inter-microbial interactions therein, and 3) historical shifts in species diversity in tick communities.

On the Web

College of Agricultural Sciences Faculty Profile

Huck Institute Joyce Sakamoto, Assistant Research Professor, Huck Institute of the Life Sciences

In The Media

"The blacklegged tick or the deer tick that everybody is concerned about, that one can handle the cold. It has sort of an antifreeze ability, so that it can withstand cold temperatures,” Sakamoto said. “Now, if you put them right into the freezer, they will die,” Sakamoto said. “But, in reality that’s not how they’re exposed to the cold. They’re not exposed to complete constant temperature at a particular level that’s going to kill them outright.”

Joyce Sakamoto, a Penn State University research associate in entomology, wanted to see for herself whether the harsh winter has taken a toll on the state's tick population. “So when temperatures reached over 30 degrees, I went out to check out a couple of tick hot spots nearby (State College) to confirm,” Sakamoto said.

How to Protect Your Pup from Ticks

from April 15, 2018

Penn State entomology researcher Joyce Sakamoto, meanwhile, explains why Pennsylvania has a high tick population.

Earth Beat: Tick Habits and Weather

from Weather World April 3, 2018

Ticks can burrow into the soil for insulation in cold season.

Published Work

Asset Downloads

These assets are available for use. All rights reserved. Credit Penn State University.



Credit: Penn State

Need help finding an expert?

Penn State expertise spans far beyond those that we have currently featured on the site. Call us at 814-865-7517 or contact a member of the media relations staff

Go to top