Masters student Jacob Edwards recently received an NSF East Asian and Pacific Summer Institutes grant to go to the Okinawa Institute for Science and Discovery this summer! Jacob will be working with Dr. Yoko Yazaki-Sugiyama on developmental plasticity in zebra finch brains. As finches can learn their song only during a very specific time window in life, Jacob will be using gene silencing techniques to explore how the quality of learning experience influences the timing - both onset and closure - of this critical developmental phase. Congratulations Jacob!
Toad ear expert extraordinaire Molly has recently been awarded a Dissertation Improvement Grant from the NSF! Molly's work will assess the genetic architecture underlying ear loss events across Bufonidae. Congratulations Molly!
Eva Fischer's study on the interplay between genes and environment on correlated suites of behaviors and their evolutionary implications is out now in Journal of Evolutionary Biology!
Check out some recent updates on the toad ear project on Molly's research blog and Jenny's research blog.
If you haven't seen it yet, you might take a peek at the Earless Toad Website.
Also, congrats to Team Toad undergraduate Koedi Lawley for winning an award on her poster in the Math Department! Koedi, biology major and math minor, is developing a reaction-diffusion model to describe the growth of ear structures during development in our focal toad species. Nice work, Koedi!!
Last month we welcomed our new postdoc, Jenny Stynoski to Fort Collins. Jenny comes to us from a long stint in Costa Rica and we're thrilled to have her frog experience and Spanish skills as part of the earless toad project.
Sarah Westrick has accepted a PhD position in Dr. Ben Dantzer's lab at the University of Michigan. We are sad she will be leaving us in May but are looking forward to a lab field trip to visit her in Ann Arbor.
Graduate student Eva Fischer is lead author on a paper showing that social context modulates predator evasion strategy in guppies.
In July Kim, Eva, and Molly travelled to Sapporo, Japan for the International Congress in Neuroethology. Our funding came in part from travel grants awarded to both Eva and Molly. See the photos section for biking and karaoke highlights.
In August Eva spent a month hanging out in the Hofmann lab at the University of Texas in Austin. Eva received a lab exchange fellowship from the NSF Sociogenomics Research Coordination Network to fund her trip. Thank you to the wonderful members of the Hofmann lab for their hospitality and valuable feedback!
Our primary goal is to understand the processes that shape evolutionary trajectories. We focus on the mechanisms of convergent evolution of behavioral and morphological traits. We link molecular, neural, and developmental mechanisms to their consequences for organismal phenotypes, and we investigate the neural and hormonal mechanisms of context- or experience-dependent changes in behavior.