Congratulations to Olivia Bianco on successfully defending her honors thesis and graduating with research distinction! Olivia’sthesis focuses on characterizing whether and how royal jelly, a substance produced by honey bees, might affect seasonal responses in mosquitoes. Olivia was co-advised by Dr. Matthias Klein in Food Science and Technology and used molecular (qRT-PCR and RNA interference), phenotypic measures (egg follicle size, macronutrient stores) and metabolomics. Her dataset is truly impressive and surprising; she found that consuming royal jelly completely reversed the seasonal responses of mosquitoes (e.g. caused mosquitoes reared in summer-like conditions to show winter-like characteristics and caused mosquitoes reared in winter-like conditions to display summer-like characteristics). Olivia is currently preparing her thesis to be submitted soon as first author manuscript to the Journal of Experimental Biology. In the fall she will attend OSU Vet School! Way to go Olivia!!!!
Congratulations to Alden Siperstein on publishing his first paper as a first author in Evolutionary Applications! This study summarizes our findings on mRNA abundance differs between biting and non-biting Culex pipiens mosquitoes. The work was supported by an NIH R21 awarded to Peter Armbruster at Georgetown University, Christine Holzapfel at the University of Oregon and PI Megan. Check out the article here!
Congratulations to Hannah Tronetti, an undergraduate student who successfully defended her research thesis. Hannah will graduate with her B.S. in Animal Sciences and will return home to Pittsburgh before starting Veterinary School (hopefully at OSU!) in the fall of 2022. Hannah’s thesis is entitled “Attempt to Establish Field Colony of Culex restuans to Assess the Urban Heat Island Effect” and can be accessed here.
We are pleased to welcome Ms. Hannah Dehus as the new laboratory manager and technician! Hannah graduated with her B.S. in Biology and a minor in Entomology from OSU. She has worked for Clarke Mosquito Control and provides extensive expertise on mosquito identification, surveillance/trapping and biology. Hannah will be assisting Graduate Student Alden with field studies to determine when mosquitoes enter and exit diapause in the field and will be designing her own experiments. We are so thrilled that she will be joining us! 🙂
Today we hosted the inaugural Ohio Regional Tick Symposium. This event was lead by Dr. Sarah Short, and co-organized by PI Megan and Dr. Risa Pesapane (OSU College of Veterinary Preventative Medicine), Dr. Carol Anelli (OSU Entomology), Dr. Tim McDermott (OSU Extension), as well as Rick Shafer and Katie McAfee in the Infectious Diseases Institute. This event brought together over 80 participants from academia, industry, public health, and other government agencies and stakeholders. The event featured both research talks as well as breakout sessions to determine how we can best combat the burgeoning threat of tick borne disease in Ohio. For meeting details and more information, please click this link.
Today we celebrated the arrival of new graduate students, Aron Oliveras to the Meuti Lab, and Nikki Joseph to the Short Lab with a joint picnic. To the right is our own Christiana Arkorful-Bondzie holding a growing baby Mark!
This summer PI Megan led two week-long “Bug Camps” as part of the Broader Impacts activities on her NSF grant. These camps were run in collaboration with the PAST Foundation (link here!) and provided opportunities for 12 middle school boys and ~35 inner-city elementary school students to learn about the diversity of insects and other arthropods in our own backyard, how to collect, pin and preserve insects, as well as the ecosystem services that insects provide. A tremendous thanks to Lydia Fyie, Matt Wolkoff, Lucas Sarko and Alden Siperstein for their assistance in making these camps a success.
Congratulations to Caitlin and Joe! Caitlin successfully defended her Master’s thesis. She is moving to Memphis, Tennessee to conduct insect education and outreach with AmeriCorps and also teach online courses. Caitlin also successfully published the literature review chapter of her Master’s Thesis in the Journal of Medical Entomology (link here). To the left is a picture of Master Peffers holding the newest member of the Meuti Lab, PI Megan’s infant son Mark Andrew Nicol. 🙂
Joe Urso successfully defended his undergraduate research thesis, which focused on characterizing the role of genes within the male accessory glands that are differentially expressed in response to seasonal cues. You can check out his thesis here. Joe is taking a gap year before applying to medical school.
This year the Meuti Lab cleaned up! At the CFAES Research Forum Christiana Arkorful-Bondzie placed 3rd, Joe Urso placed 2nd and Olivia Bianco placed 1st in the Undergraduate Entomology category for the work that they presented as posters. Graduate Student Lydia Fyie placed 1st in the PhD Category!
Then, Joe Urso placed 3rd at the Denman Undergraduate Research Forum in the Animal and Insect Sciences Category.
If that wasn’t enough, Lucas Sarko, Hannah Tronetti and Christiana Arkorful-Bondzie received prestigious Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship (URAP) awards. These fellowships will support the students as they pursue their independent research this summer. Congratulations to everyone on a job exceptionally well done!
Today members of the lab surprised PI Megan with a basket of gifts for the upcoming arrival of her third child! This was very much appreciated by Megan, her husband Matt, and older kids Madeleine and Luke, and was completely unexpected! The event featured a social Zoom call where we were finally able to get a group picture of most of us. 🙂