Undergrad Student Victoria Colin Pursues Research Distinction

Victoria Colin, a senior undergraduate researcher majoring in Biology, submitted an application to graduate with research distinction. Her project will investigate the genes that are produced in mosquito spermathecae (shown below), which are specialized structures that allow female insects to store sperm for extended periods of time.

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Specifically, her project will determine whether  female mosquitoes that are reared in winter-like conditions create more proteins to promote sperm storage than female mosquitoes that are reared in summer-like conditions. She plans to defend her research thesis in the spring and present the results of this project at the Denman Undergraduate Research Forum.

Lab Director Meuti Submitted first NSF Grant

PI Meuti submitted a collaborative proposal to the National Science Foundation with Co-investigators Dr. Cheolho Sim at Baylor University and Dr. Julie Reynolds. This full proposal was invited for submission after a favorable review of a shorter, pre-proposal. If funded, this grant will support two graduate students in the Meuti lab and will explore how the circadian clock is connected to hormonal and other signaling pathways that regulate seasonal responses in mosquitoes. Broader impact activities of the proposed grant will include leading entomology-themed after school activities for local middle and high school students in collaboration with the PAST Foundation. Here is to hoping for some good news in November!

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Insect Night Walk

Lab director Meuti and Graduate Student Robin Bautista-Jimenez volunteered at the Entomology Department’s annual “Insect Walk” on Saturday July 22nd. Specifically we helped kids and their families create “Maggot Art” by dipping fly larvae into paint and allowing them to crawl around the paper. This new station was a big hit and not only provided a unique souvenir for the kids, but also gave us an opportunity to teach youngsters and their families about insect metamorphosis, locomotion and the ecological roles of flies.

Lab Director Meuti gave a TED-style Talk

Lab Director Megan Meuti was selected to give a TED-style talk entitled “Manipulating Seasonal Responses in Mosquitoes.” This talk was sponsored through the Infectious Disease initiative and the Entomology Department. Megan worked with excellent coaches to develop the 13 minute talk below. Overall, it was an excellent experience, as she learned how to succinctly describe her major research findings, reflect on her overall vision for her laboratory research group and communicate her results to a nonscientific audience.

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