We are very pleased to announce 2 new publications, both appearing in the Journal of Insect Physiology!
Derek Huck’s paper describes the effect of nutrition on the reproductive physiology of mosquitoes. He found that males that consumed a low-sugar diet had less fat, altered metabolites and fathered fewer offspring than males that consumed moderate and high sucrose diets. Here is a link to read more!
Lydia Fyie’s paper describes the impact that light pollution might have on seasonal responses in mosquitoes. Specifically, Lydia’s work shows that exposing mosquitoes to short days and artificial night at night in the lab causes them to avert their overwintering dormancy, and instead bite and lay eggs. Check it out!
Congratulations to Derek and Lydia on what is likely going to be their first of many first-authored papers! 🙂
Our article entitled “Preparing and Injecting Embryos of Culex Mosquitoes to Generate Null Mutations using CRISPR/Cas9” was just published online in the Journal of Visualized experiments. This describes the procedure that we used to generate mosquitoes that had a non-functional mutation in their circadian clocks.
We are thrilled and excited to announce that several new students have joined the Meuti Lab!
Matt Wolkoff has joined as a PhD student, and will be working on our recently-funded NSF project to generate mosquitoes with broken and altered circadian clocks using CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing.
Hannah Tronetti, a Junior majoring in Animal Science, will work with Graduate Student Lydia Fyie, and Megan to determine how urban heat islands might affect the diapause response in Northern house mosquitoes.
Sydney Robare and Lucas Sarko, who are both currently enrolled in Megan’s online “Insects in Human Affairs” course, will be assisting Graduate Student Alden Siperstein to determine when wild mosquitoes initiate and terminate their overwintering dormancy in the field.
We just found out that our collaborative proposal entitled “Connecting the circadian clock to seasonal responses in mosquitoes” has been fully funded by the Integrative and Organismal Systems group of the National Science Foundation! This grant will support collaborative research between the Meuti Lab, and Dr. Matthias Klein in the Department of Food, Science and Technology at OSU as well as Dr. Cheolho Sim at Baylor University. Using several innovative techniques, including CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing, ChIP-seq, NMR metabolomics and RNAseq, we plan to determine how mosquitoes use their circadian clocks to measure daylength to appropriately coordinate reproduction and their overwintering diapause at the correct times of year. We are so thrilled and excited for the grant and the opportunity to pursue this exciting research!
Derek successfully defended his research thesis and will graduate with research distinction this Fall. Unfortunately we weren’t able to celebrate this fantastic achievement in person due to to COVID, but we are all cheering him on as he prepares to write and submit his research for publication and begin graduate school in Dr. Michael Strand’s lab at the University of Georgia this fall.
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Today PI Meuti and Graduate Student Caitlin Peffers visited Medina Middle School, a Columbus public school serving diverse and immigrant students. We first shared some information on how we became interested in entomology, our educational and career paths, as well as other job opportunities available in entomology and other STEM fields. Then we passed around some really cool insects and other arthropods, asked and answered questions about their biology, and allowed students to touch and hold them. As you can see, it was quite a hit!
Today members of the recently formed Tick Task Force, including PI Meuti, participated in a largescale outreach event at the first ever Science Festival at the Center of Science and Industry (COSI) in Columbus, Ohio. At the event, we handed out tick ID card, showed people how to properly remove ticks using large models and showed people what real ticks look like using microscopes and 3D printed models.
Highest kuddos go to Dr. Sarah Short for leading the task force and for developing the cards and designing the tick models.
Best of all, we had some special visitors drop by the booth (after all, it was May the 4th).
Sarah Short, Rick Shaffer (from IDI) and Megan in front of our booth.
Booth set up with models, microscopes and ID cards.
Darth Vader checking Luke Skywalker for ticks.
Darth Vader examining the backwards-pointing teeth that allow ticks to dig in to our skin.
Luke Skywalker attempting to remove a tick model with the Force. For the rest of us, we reccommend using pointy tweezers and pulling straight up.
Megan is incredibly fortunate to be a co-PI on a two year research grant funded by the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Peter Armbruster at Georgetown University is the lead investigator. The project will allow us to select for biting and non-biting populations of the Northern house mosquito, Culex pipiens. The Armbruster lab will similarly select for biting and non-biting populations of the yellow fever mosquito, Aedes aegypti. Them, with the help of Dr. Christine Hozapfel and Bill Bradshaw at the University of Oregon, we will compare the differences in gene expression between the biting and non-biting mosquitoes belonging to these two species. In doing this, we hope to identify genes that are important for biting so that we could one day prevent mosquitoes from biting us and transmitting disease.
Today PI Meuti and graduate student Lydia Fyie participated in the Ohio State Museum of Biological Diversity’s Annual Open House. We were both stationed in the insect collection, where we had the privilege of sharing fun facts and answering questions about many of the museum’s remarkable specimens. In total, over 3,000 visitors came to the Museum Open House, and likely at least 1,000 passed through the insect collection.
And as if that was not exhausting enough, Lydia then went on to give a second outstanding performance in Cabaret where she was cheered on by Vivian, Caitlin, Christiana and Megan (not shown).