Our Summer Research Program is breaking new ground this year. Our team of six undergraduates is working all online. We are busy learning about experimental design in preparation for some new projects in the lab. We are also welcoming some new members to the lab, Cameron Gaines, Elizabeth Gill, and Caroline Reverendo. Big thanks to Bristol Myers Squibb and the Urban Coast Institute for funding our summer research.
This year’s seniors have had remarkable success at Monmouth University and have shown so much leadership and resilience. David Grossi, Sean Kuback, and Tiffany Longo all earned Research Awards from the Department of Biology for their significant research contributions. David Grossi and Tiffany Longo also received the Tri Beta Chapter’s Chi Eta Award, our highest recognition for scholarship and academics. Tiffany Longo will also be graduating with Honors for her thesis on “Variation in Reproductive Traits among Mice from the Americas.” Finally, Sean Kuback received the first ever Biology Department Transfer Student Award for Academic Excellence and Research. Congratulations, we look forward to seeing you future success!
This January, Sebastian Vera started medical school. Luckily, soon to graduate lab alumni Bradley Kraft is there to be a great mentor. Congratulations, Seb!
Dr. Phifer-Rixey gave a talk about her house mouse research as part of the Dept of Genetics weekly seminar series at the University of Georgia. It was wonderful to interact with the faculty, students, and postdocs and to return to a field site for the North American mouse collections.
Dr. Phifer-Rixey and Chelsea Barreto were invited to the National Association of Biology Teachers Meeting to present their work. Read more here: https://www.monmouth.edu/news/professor-phifer-rixey-and-alumna-present-at-national-conference-for-biology-teachers/
Dr. Phifer-Rixey attended the first synthesis workshop for the RCN: Evolving Seas held at Shoals Marine Lab. The goal of the workshop was toe bring together ~40 researchers from marine science, evolutionary biology, and oceanography, to form groups to tackle open questions about response to climate change in the oceans. To learn more, see: https://rcn-ecs.github.io/
Nikole Andre graduated with her BS in Marine and Environmental Biology and Policy. She worked on our striper popgen project and was instrumental in getting the lab work started. She is heading home to West Palm Beach, FL and is looking for positions in her field.
This summer we have two teams of students participating in the Summer Research Prorgam. Jesse Bragger, David Grossi, and Tiffany Longo are on Team Mouse, working on multiple projects exploring phenotypic variation among mice from different wild populations. Sean Kuback, Karolina Szenkiel, and Chelsea Barreto are team eDNA. They are part of a collaborative project testing methods of detecting eDNA under controlled conditions. Chelsea teaches at Summit High School and is participating in the NSF Beacon Teacher Revolution program. Go Teams!
The annual Evolution Meeting was held this June in Providence, RI. Scientists from all over the US and the world came together to share their evolutionary research. This year, three undergraduates attended the conference and shared their research at a poster symposium. Tiffany Longo and Jesse Bragger presented their work on variation in reproductive phenotypes in wild mice. Sebastian Vera presented his work testing the relationship between body size, diet, and environment in mice. Tiffany and Jesse were funded by the Biology Department and the School of Science and Seb was awarded a competitive travel grant from the Society for the Study of Evolution. Carleigh Engstrom from Biotechnology High School also presented, supported by NSF Beacon Teacher Revolution. Carleigh was selected to participate in a program placing high school teachers in research labs for the summer and presented her research on population structure in striped bass. We had a great time and came back with ideas for future work!
Avida-ED is an online resource for teaching evolutionary concepts to students via an interactive web based application. The program is designed for high school and undergraduate students. The NSF supports Avida-ED and provides funding for workshops to help professors integrate the tool into the classroom. This June, Dr. Phifer-Rixey and Dr. Tiffany Medley attended their workshop at UT-Austin as part of a plan to build a bridge between evolutionary concepts taught in Introductory Biology and Genetics.