ESA 2012 Annual Meeting

ESA 2012

I had a blast at ESA 2012 in Portland, Oregon attending scientific presentations, benefiting from workshops, and hobnobbing with great scientists. I also presented a poster with preliminary findings from my own research: "Enzyme activities of mesofaunal endosymbionts across host species and ecosystem".

Me (left) pictured with High School mentee Pooja Desai


While working as a research technician and laboratory manager, I had the priviledge to guide a bright, motivated high school senior, Pooja Desai in her research using a lung scaffold environment to prompt stem cells to develop into mature lung cells. Pooja's work won the gold medal at the Vermont State Science and Mathematics Fair earning her the opportunity to compete at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair! She was also profiled by UVM University Communications. Pooja is continuing her studies in the Kotton lab at Boston University - I can't wait to see what she accomplishes there!

Standing by an ant colony incubator

Undergraduate Honors Research - Ant Demographics and Physiology

As an undergraduate, I volunteered in the laboratory of insect ecologist Dr. Sara Helms Cahan where I genotyped hybrid ants and developed an Honors research project testing physiological and demographic mechanisms driving growth rate differences, and ultimately ecological niche, in ant colonies with different reproductive strategies. Thanks to funds I won from a competitive research grant for undergraduates, I traveled to the University of Montana to measure larval metabolic rate in the laboratory of Dr. Art Woods, a trip that was profiled for a university publication. Learning to write up my results as an Honors Thesis was challenging but ultimately very successful: that year the department recognized me with two awards - Outstanding Research in Ecology, and Outstanding Senior in Environmental Science - but I am most proud that my work was published in Functional Ecology (Genetic caste determination does not impose growth rate costs in Pogonomyrmex harvester ants).