Safeguarding Public Health: Tick Talk Monitoring Website is Live

Man and dog walking in forest

Michigan Technological University is committed to helping safeguard the public health of our communities. And a new Michigan Tech public health initiative is furthering that goal. Supported by an MI-SAPPHIRE grant, Tick Talk Monitoring is leveraging the power of crowdsourcing to monitor tick populations in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and nearby regions.

The goal is to identify the prevalence of tick-borne illnesses in the Copper Country and nearby regions and to provide the public with this important information in a timely manner.

“By engaging the public in collecting ticks and conducting comprehensive analyses, the project is generating up-to-the-minute geolocation results,” says Associate Professor Guy Hembroff, Applied Computing. “The results are then visualized and shared on the Tick Talk interactive dashboard.”

But the endeavor goes beyond data collection. “Our team is dedicated to empowering people with crucial knowledge about how to identify ticks, understand the associated risks, implement preventive measures, and seek appropriate treatment,” says Hembroff.

Michigan Tech’s Genomic Sequencing Lab is accepting crowdsourced ticks from all community members and pets through September 30, 2023. Community members may bring ticks to one of two location boxes on the Michigan Tech campus: theU.J. Noblet Forestry Building, Main Entrance, and the Great Lakes Research Center, 100 Phoenix Drive, in the building lobby.

The Tick Talk surveillance team members are Kristi Brzeski, Guy Hembroff, Dukka KC, and Amy Marcarelli. Meet the team on the Tick Talk Monitoring website.

Visit the Tick Talk Monitoring website (add link) to learn more about ticks and tick-bourne illnesses.


Four Michigan universities are sharing $18.5 million in federal funds through the MI_SAPPHIRE grant program to collect and analyze genomic data. Michigan Technological University, Michigan State University, University of Michigan, and Wayne State University are using the funding to increase genomic sequencing capacity and monitor emerging infectious disease threats, and enhancing the state’s ability to respond to threats with the potential for broad community spread. MI-SAPPHIRE project activities include sequence generation and analysis, such as sample collection and sequencing; data processing, storage and sharing; and data interpretation and analytics.

Funding for the Michigan Sequencing Academic Partnership for Public Health Innovation and Response (MI-SAPPHIRE) is through a Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity grant received by the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services (MDHHS).