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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Gagandeep Singh Brar
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.
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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.
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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.
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I am fascinated by the computational tools and methods for analyzing evolutionary consequences of epigenetics inheritance, gene expression and metabolic networks of organisms. So, my current research aim is to understand how varying selection pressures affect gene expression and metabolic networks using transcriptomic models. In the past, I worked as a Biomedical Research Scientist at the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research and the US Naval Medical Research Unit-3 Ghana Detachment. As a member of the Next-Generation Sequencing core team, I worked on identifying pathogens that cause Acute Febrile Illness and Next Generation Sequencing of numerous infectious diseases including Covid-19 and multidrug resistance bacteria like MRSA and Neisseria gonorrhea. Read more about George HERE.
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San Ha Seo
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The main focus of my research is understanding how oxidative stress and damage affects performance (flight and activity), reproduction, and behavior in pollinators. There is a lot we don’t know about aging in pollinators, how long pollinators can be productive, or the exact role oxidative damage has on aging. To understand the physiological states of pollinators such as the solitary bee, Megachile rotundata, we need a better understanding of oxidative stress, free radical production, the damage that can occur within pollinators, and the defenses pollinators use to prevent the accumulation of free radicals and mitigate oxidative damage. Read more about Jacob here.
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While I am interested in many different projects related to pollinator research, my main focus is in two areas: 1) how body size in megachile rotundata (Alfalfa Leafcutting Bee) is affected by environmental factors, primarily the size of the nesting cavity and 2) the effects that oxidative stressors have on bees through the measurement of their telomere lengths. The goal of this research is to create a better understanding of the impacts on pollinator health. This will hopefully lead to the development of better management practices that will produce healthier and more productive pollinators. Read more about Josh here.
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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.
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Previous undergraduate research was on metabolic rate and critical oxygen partial pressure in bumble bees.
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