North Dakota State University

Julia Bowsher

Associate Professor, Principal Investigator

I am interested in how environmental stressors impact insect fitness.  I am particularly interested in determining how temperature and nutritional stress during development affect the adult phenotype, and what molecular and physiological mechanisms mediate the responses to these stressors. Bees experience many potential stressors during agricultural management and in response to climate change.  Understanding how we can protect against these stresses will help build resilient populations. Read more about Julia HERE.

Email me: julia.bowsher@ndsu.edu


Kendra Greenlee

Assistant Professor, Chair Biological Sciences, Principal Investigator

How do physiological systems change throughout development and what happens when you perturb this process with stress?  This is important because insects are the most numerous animals on the planet.  Insects as a group are our frenemies.  They provide important pollination services of crops and remove detritus, but they are also vectors of disease and pests in crops and in homes. 

Email me: kendra.greenlee@ndsu.edu


Giancarlo Lopez-Martinez

Assistant Professor, Department of Biological Sciences

I work on the effect of free radicals and oxidative stress on life history traits and fitness. Oxidative stress is a strong mediator of animal performance, health, and immunity and we have a very elementary knowledge of how it works. Read more about GC HERE.

Email me: giancarlo.lopez@ndsu.edu


Saeed Salem

Associate Professor, Department of Computer Science

Email me: Saeed.Salem@ndsu.edu


Sarah Signor

Assistant Professor

My lab addresses fundamental questions in evolutionary biology using Drosophila as a model organism. My lab integrates diverse methods to understand how gene expression evolves within a network context, how gene expression is shaped by heterogeneous environments, and how organisms evolve in response to increasingly human modified landscapes. Read more about Sarah here.

Email me: sarah.signor@ndsu.edu


Pam Puppo

Postdoctoral Researcher

My main research focuses on the factors affecting plant diversification patterns. I combine classical taxonomy with an array of molecular techniques to assess how different factors drive speciation, to explain why species are so unevenly distributed across regions. I am also interested in the applications of metabarcoding, concretely to study plant-pollinator interactions, I want to further my skills in transcriptomics and want to learn to work with metabolomics. Read more about Pam here.

Email me: pamela.puppo@ndsu.edu


Gagandeep Singh Brar

Ph.D. Candidate

My main focus is studying the alfalfa leafcutter bee, Megachile rotundata and examining the maternal effects on diapausing and non-diapausing individuals through DNA methylation using bisulfite sequencing. I am also interested in evaluating the effect of gut microbiome in the context of diapause. Read more about Gagan here.

Email me: gagandeep.brar@ndsu.edu


Liz Cambron

Ph.D. Candidate

The insulin signaling pathway is involved with many functions such as reproduction, development, and metabolism. This can be important for better understanding how pollinators like the alfalfa leaf cutting bee, Megachile rotundata, survive winter and how changes in climate will impact them. It can also provide insight to key mechanisms that can be used as targets for agricultural pests like the tobacco hornworm, Manduca sexta. With this information, we can help farmers take better care of their bees. Happy bee means there’s food for you and me! Also, although they’re much much smaller, insects have the same insulin pathway we do, which means there’s potential for our research to be translated to other studies like diabetes research. 

Email me: liz.cambron@ndsu.edu


Kayla Earls

Ph.D. Candidate

My research focus is how various types of environmental stressors affect reproduction in the solitary bee, Megachile rotundata. Some environmental stressors include low temperature stress during development, suboptimal environmental conditions that affect flight, and resource diversity. A single female bee is responsible for producing offspring, nest building and providing food for the offspring, which requires many steps that may be disrupted if the female is or has experienced a stressor. Megachile rotundata is the most managed solitary bee, however, farmers experience low return rates in the United States. Understanding the driving forces of reproductive decline is essential to mending this problem. Read more about Kayla HERE.

Email me: kayla.earls@ndsu.edu


Courtney Grula

Ph.D. Candidate

The main focus of my research is to determine how body size impacts performance and fitness in solitary bees, using nutritional quantity as a mechanism for influencing body size. Body size affects many different aspects of animal life habits including fecundity, metabolism, longevity, and foraging distance. By utilizing the determinate growth characteristic of solitary bees, we are able to control adult body size, which allows us to experimentally test the impact of body size on performance. A secondary focus of my research is looking at lifespan and aging in solitary bees, particularly looking at telomere dynamics across development. Telomere length may be related to longevity and the rate of cellular aging in eukaryotic organisms. Results from my research may give insights into how telomeres function in solitary bees, and the process of cellular aging these organisms. Read more about Courtney HERE.

Email me: courtney.grula@ndsu.edu


Riyad Hakim

Graduate Student

Bioinformatics Algorithms, Gene Expression Networks Analysis, etc.

Email me: riyad.hakim@ndsu.edu


San Ha Seo

Graduate Student

Email me: sanha.seo@ndsu.edu


Franz Scherping

Graduate Student

I am fascinated by phenotype expression and trait distribution throughout a population and the impact, where apparent, these have on the fitness of a given lineage. My current research involves the use of genomic databases to analyze genomic datasets with the interest of studying genotypes and the regulation of genes and their respective modes of expression. In the past, I have research experience in environmental monitoring and wildlife research and handling.

Email me: f.scherpingbustos@ndsu.edu


Preetpal Singh

Graduate Student

I am interested in the effects of temperature, photoperiod and maternal effects on diapause in alfalfa leafcutting bees. In the future, I would like to add additional components to my research that will involve bioinformatics or transcriptomics. Read more about Preetpal Singh here.

Email me: preetpal.singh@ndsu.edu


Rikki Walter

Graduate Student

Previous undergraduate research was on metabolic rate and critical oxygen partial pressure in bumble bees.

Email me: rikki.walter@ndsu.edu


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