Manhattanville Reid Castle In the Spring

Manhattanville College Senior Receives “Gold Individual” Grant from TriBeta Honor Society

Philip Meade '14

Manhattanville College student Philip Meade '14 has received a research grant from the TriBeta National Biological Honor Society for his research on DEET and its repellency of the brown dog tick.

DEET, a famous insect repellant commonly used by campers and farmers, was originally designed by the  U.S. Army as an essential repellant, when battling in jungle conditions. It was previously used in both World War II and Vietnam. 

Meade, a war veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan post 9/11, became familiar with the repellant while in the army. Meade actually credits the army for sparking his interest in biochemistry, “(the army) helped me realize how important medicine and science is to improving the human condition in a real and permanent way”, says Meade.  “I matured a great deal in the army.”

With commercially marketed DEET products ranging in concentration levels from as little as five percent to as high as 50 percent, and new biological research suggesting that too much exposure to DEET could possibly result in neurological damage, Meade along with his advisors, Associate Professor of Biology Anna Yeung-Cheung and Visiting Assistant Professor of Biology Christopher J. Pappas, are attempting to discover what the smallest DEET concentration to create a noteworthy repellency is. They are working tirelessly to find what he calls, “the sweet spot between avoiding the danger posed by ticks, and the potential harm from DEET.” 

In addition to the $300 award from TriBeta, Meade also received a $1,000 Castle Honor Award from the College in support of his research all of the funds received will be recycled back into the project in order to continue his research. Meade has not allowed his biological expertise to be monopolized by the brown tick. He is a frequent volunteer at New York Medical College, where he does research on mutant fruit flies with learning deficiencies, and works as lab manager for Manhattanville’s Biology Department. “I help the professors set up the different experiments for class, and I'm a common sight in that part of Brownson in my lab coat and goggles,” he said.

This April Meade will be presenting his research at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research at the University of Kentucky.

Dr. Anna Yeung-Cheung and Philip Meade '14.Dr. Anna Yeung-Cheung, associate professor of Biology, has assisted Philip Meade '14 with his research.