University of Wyoming

Franco Basile

Full Professor, Department of Chemistry

Our research in the ICE Network focuses on the development of Mass Spectrometry (MS)-based techniques for metabolomics analysis (metabolites and lipids) in bees. Using high-resolution chromatography (either LC or GC) with high-resolution MS, we aim at detecting the widest possible range of metabolites in a single analysis. This untargeted metabolomics approach, coupled with novel chemometrics and bioinformatics data analysis tools, allows us to compare the metabolic state between bee samples in an effort to help increase our understanding of the effects of climate change on bees.

Email me: basile@uwyo.edu


Michael Dillon

Associate Professor, Principal Investigator

For ICE, our main focus is understanding the physiology of insect overwintering. We primarily work with Bombus, but will collaborate on projects with Megachile and Osmia.  Aside from measurements of metabolic rates and energy stores for different castes of Bombus and under different temperature, photoperiod, and diet conditions, we are collaborating on metabolomics for all three and leading up the modeling efforts aimed at incorporating our new understanding of physiology into predictions of climate change impacts. 

Email me: Michael.Dillon@uwyo.edu


Dan Rule

Full Professor, Department of Animal Science

Our laboratory emphasis on the ICE project is on fatty acid profiles of the various tissues that might be influenced in bees by the environment. Development of protocols for the gas chromatograph for very small sample size has been the most significant challenge but we have been successful in extraction of lipids for consistent analysis of fatty acid profile in specific tissues, such as flight muscles and abdomens.

Email me: DCRule@uwyo.edu


Megan Dillon

Research Associate/Lab Manager

I received my BS in Zoology from the University of Washington in 2000. Since then I have worked as a research and diagnostic laboratory technician, specializing in molecular biology techniques. As part of the ICE Network, I am working on the effects of diapause on macronutrients in bumblebee queens.

Email me: mdillon4@uwyo.edu


Mitch Helling

Postdoctoral Researcher

My research is on metabolomics with mass spectrometry to gain functional insight into organisms of interest, where I focus primarily on method development. This involves metabolite extraction, chromatographic separation, mass spectral analysis, data processing and interpretation. Specific research projects are often collaborative in nature, and so I am always learning. In addition to my work with the ICE Network, my current focus is to study microbial ecology throughout Wyoming, including the mechanisms of plant-microbe interactions and how that effects plant circadian clock, as well as the mechanisms involved in suppressing cheatgrass invasion of disturbed grass lands with crested wheatgrass.

Email me: mhelling@uwyo.edu


Craig Garzella

Ph.D. Student

My previous work includes conservation data science for the USGS and FWS, invasive species research for the NPS, and data curation for multiple research projects in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. My interests include exploring the world of ecophysiology through computational means and determining the upper limit of cheese on pizza.

Email me: Craig.Garzella@uwyo.edu


Andrew Goodenough

Ph.D. Student

Email me: agoodeno@uwyo.edu


Banani Mondal

Ph.D. Candidate

My research focus is on Bee metabolomics and Lipidomics. Lipidomics is a subset of metabolomics devoted to the qualitative and quantitative measurement of lipids. By using the high-resolution GC-MS instrument, we will be able to identify the wide range of metabolites and lipids present in Bees. Through metabolomic study, we will measure not only changes in fat storage (both quantity and composition of fatty acids) but also the presence of cryoprotectants molecules. Learn more about Banani here.

Email me: bmondal@uwyo.edu


Sarah Waybright

Ph.D. Student

I am currently a first year PhD student in Dr. Michael Dillon’s lab at the University of Wyoming. Little is known about the physiological cues that trigger diapause in bumble bees, though a bumble bee queen spends nearly half of her life in this depressed metabolic state. What changes occur in a bumble bee’s macronutrients during the pre-diapause stage?  Are there milestones that must be reached in macronutrient profiles before bumble bees can enter into diapause? These are the questions driving my research at the moment.

Email me: swaybrig@uwyo.edu


Ellen Keaveny

Graduate Student

It is unknown if bumble bees are physiologically capable of rapid cold-hardening (an increase in cold tolerance after cold exposure). Along with rapid cold-hardening experiments, using lipidomic and metabolomic approaches will allow us to determine how potential cellular responses to cold exposure facilitate subsequent cold tolerance. Diet (nectar and pollen) likely also alters cellular composition, with cascading effects on thermal physiology. Seasonal and geographic variation in composition of nectar and pollen could therefore indirectly alter bee thermal physiology. I will investigate effects of diet, previous cold exposure on cellular composition and thermal tolerance of bumble bees this spring and summer.

Email me: ekeaveny@uwyo.edu


D. M. Shayne Dodge

MS Candidate, Department of Zoology and Physiology

As an undergraduate, I studied population dynamics of small mammals in post-burn areas of large-scale fires and, in particular, the role of crypsis on survival in these patchy landscapes. For my MS work, I am interested in the factors that determine entry into and exit from diapause, as indicated by shifts in the temperature dependence of metabolic rate in bumblebees. Learn more about Shayne here.

Email me: ddodge2@uwyo.edu


Ethan Rowe

Undergraduate Student

Email me: erowe1@uwyo.edu


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