Today Meuti Lab members Lydia Fyie and Derek Huck presented at the Annual Meeting of the OhioValley Entomological Association. Both gave outstanding presentations and Lydia even placed first in the combined Masters and Undergraduate Research Category. Congratulations to both!
Today, Summer Research Opportunities Program, Devante Simmons presented his work in the Meuti lab as both a poster and an oral presentation. He did a fantastic job telling the world about our preliminary success in generating mutant mosquitoes using CRISPR/Cas9 genome-editing technologies, and he was well-supported by members of the lab. Well done Devante, but we are all going to miss your infectious smile and positivity!
Today Graduate Student Caitlin Peffers (left) and PI Meuti (right) 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, and job opportunities in entomology and other STEM fields. Then we passed around some really cool insects and other arthropods, asked and answered questions about their biology. Best of all, students got 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).
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 (click here for a link to his website). 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 (shown below).
Then, with the help of Dr. Christine Hozapfel and Bill Bradshaw at the University of Oregon (click here for a link to their website), we will compare the differences in gene expression between the biting and non-biting mosquitoes belonging to these two species. By 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 insect specimens. In total, over 3,000 visitors came to the Museum Open House, and likely at least 1,000 passed through the insect collection.
We found out today that Lydia received a competitive Seeds grant from the Ohio Agricultural Research Development Center. This grant will allow Lydia to determine if the streetlights that illuminate our sidewalks and roads prevent mosquitoes from going into their overwintering dormancy. If this is the case, it means that mosquitoes may continue to bite city-dwellers and transmit diseases throughout the fall and winter. Stay tuned for her results! 🙂
The review article that PI Meuti co-authored with Dr. Sarah Short has just been published in the open access journal Insects (link here). This paper synthesizes information from other scientific studies that have examined how environmental factors, such as food, temperature and seasonal conditions, might affect the insect ejaculate.
Today Claire Allison and Vivian Chang represented the Meuti Lab at Ohio State’s annual Denman Undergraduate Research Forum. This year the competition was limited to only 200 applicants, and both Claire and Vivian worked to secure their spots early on. Claire presented her research on how seasonal conditions affect the size and gene expression in male accessory glands.
Vivian presented her work demonstrating that circadian transcription factors play a critical role in mosquito overwintering. Best of all, Vivian won first place in her research category! 🙂Congratulations to both of these amazing students! 🙂