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.
Congratulations to Summer Shaheed and Sebastian Vera! Both graduated this spring with a degree in Biology. In addition to being active in research, both were very active in student groups, ranging from club lacrosse to the Muslim Student Association. They made a huge contribution to the lab. Summer will be pursuing a career in dentistry and Seb is heading off to med school next spring. We will miss you!
We also finally got to celebrate Katherine Banfitch’s winter graduation. Katie is already working on her Masters in Teaching here at Monmouth. She will be pursuing a career in secondary science education. Congratulations, Katie!
Tiffany Longo has been awarded a research grant from the TriBeta Honor Society support her work on litter size in house mice.
Read about our newly published research on aspects of environmental adaptation in house mice in North America
We delivered our first teacher kits today at Amerigo A. Anastasia School in Long Branch. These kits have everything needed to extract DNA with elementary age students (except the strawberries)! After we deliver an in-person workshop with a school, we then provide kits for the teachers to use the acitivity in the future at low cost. We are grateful to the European Society for Evolutionary Biology which provides funding for both the in class workshops and the teacher kits. Katie Banfitch (MU School of Science, left) put together the kits based on her experience last semester as our outreach coordinator and Jessica Alonzo (middle) facilitated all of our work at the school.
Members of the lab presented posters at the 2018 Evolution in Philly Conference sponsored by ASN, GSA, and others. The conference was held at the Academy of Natural Sciences and we all enjoyed hearing about the excellent science happening in the region.
We wrapped up another great Summer Reserach Program. Students from the School of Science presented their posters today to a packed crowd. This program is generously supported by MU, private donations, and corporate sponsors.
Sebastian Vera just wrapped up his time as Summer Scholar. This competitive program supports undergrads from across the University as they pursue research. Seb kickstarted our research program on new wild derived strains this summer and will continue his work this academic year.