The leadership donor plaque mounted outside the Dr. Jane Huffman Wildlife Genetics Institute.

Dr. Jane Huffman Wildlife Genetics Institute Honoring an ESU educator, biologist, colleague and friend

Members of Dr. Jane Huffman's family at the dedication ceremony.

The Dr. Jane Huffman Wildlife Genetics Institute was dedicated on April 24, 2019, honoring its founder and visionary and celebrating a $150,000 fundraising campaign for the institute that serves students, the community and region.

Former Distinguished Professor of Biological Sciences, Jane Huffman, Ph.D., M’07, who passed away in 2017, was a member of the ESU family for 29 years, retiring in 2015. She began her career at ESU in 1986 and from the start was a powerful influence on students studying biological sciences, particularly those in wildlife microbiology and parasitology.

In 2005, Huffman supported ESU’s efforts to develop The Northeast Wildlife DNA Laboratory which played a significant role in the establishment of Pennsylvania’s Lyme Disease Task Force, established by then-Governor Tom Corbett.  Huffman’s work in the lab with ESU graduate Melissa Shaw ’11 resulted in development of Lyme Aid (now known as CutterTM Lyme Disease Tick Test), the first-ever faculty/student commercialization agreement at ESU and within Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education.

The Dr. Jane Huffman Wildlife Genetics Institute will continue to be an indispensable source for forensic analysis of state wildlife crimes, and also serves the greater community. One component of the Institute is The Pennsylvania Tick Research Lab at ESU, which began providing free tick testing to all Pennsylvania residents April 1, 2019.  

Located in ESU’s Innovation Center, the Institute is an extension of the Department of Biological Sciences, providing training for undergraduate and graduate students. In the lab, students learn the application of technologies, methodologies and practices related to infectious disease diagnostics and wildlife population genetic studies.  The lab also provides invaluable research to physicians, a number of state wildlife agencies, and pharmaceutical and biotech companies.

The ESU Foundation began its fundraising campaign to rename the lab in early 2017. The culmination of the campaign brought together Huffman’s family, friends and colleagues who reinforced her passion to provide students with research opportunities and a hands-on learning experience.

“Dr. Huffman was a talented, highly-regarded professor and researcher, and it was ESU’s great fortune that she was part of our family for nearly three decades.  She was passionate about her students and her colleagues who continue to carry on her great work which is helping so many who are at risk for Lyme disease,” said ESU President Marcia G. Welsh, Ph.D.

ESU Foundation Executive Director Rich Santoro said Dr. Huffman will never be forgotten thanks to the generosity of so many people.

“I am proud of all those who rallied around the renaming of the lab through this campaign. Dr. Huffman’s passion for people, wildlife, and research will live on through The Dr. Jane Huffman Wildlife Genetics Institute.”

For more information on The Dr. Jane Huffman Wildlife Genetics Institute and the services available, call 570-422-7892 or contact Nicole Chinnici, institute director at

See pictures on flickr.