The W.M. Keck Center for Behavioral Biology

Postdocs

Baptissart, Marine

Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Biological Sciences

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Marine completed her Ph.D. in Molecular Biology and Physiology at Blaise-Pascal University, France, where she was awarded first prize in the 2015 Junior Researcher Awards. She is currently working on a project to understand the mechanisms by which early life nutrition can affect metabolism in adulthood. Marine is also interested in the mechanisms of transgenerational inheritance.


Alexis_BarbarinBarbarin, Alexis M.

Postdoctoral Research Scholar

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Alexis’ research is interdisciplinary, integrating methods from the social sciences, spatial statistics, and landscape genetics to study how bed bug populations move through an urban environment. Specifically, Alexis is investigating the dispersal patterns of the bed bug using a combination of molecular techniques (via microsatellite markers) and social network analysis. Very little is known about how bed bugs disperse through an urban landscape. Thus, using common molecular tools coupled with human behavior and social networks can form the foundation to understanding bed bug dispersal through our rapidly urbanizing world.


Cao, Jinyan

Postdoc

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Jinyan researches the effect of neonatal BPA exposure on gene expression in rat hypothalamus.


Amanda CassCass, Amanda N.

Postdoctoral Research Scholar, Department of Biological Sciences

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Mandy is an evolutionary developmental biologist interested in understanding the genetic changes that lead to morphological novelty in ray-finned fishes. Her dissertation research focused on swimbladder evolution, and at NCSU she will be working in the Roberts lab on comparative gut development in cichlid fishes from Lake Malawi.


Ciccotto, Patrick J.

Postdoctoral Research Scholar, Biological Sciences

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Patrick is an ichthyologist interested in the evolution of morphological, behavioral, and ecological diversity in freshwater fishes. His dissertation focused on the roles of ecological and sexual selection in color variation across darters (Percidae: Etheostomatinae) and is working in the Roberts lab at NCSU to quantify morphological and anatomical variation across species and sexes of Lake Malawi cichlids.


Diepenbrock, Lauren

Postdoctoral Research Scholar, Entomology (Burrack lab)

Email   |   Personal website

My current research is focused on understanding the ecology and life history tactics of *Drosophila suzukii*, an invasive fruit fly that is a pest of soft-skinned fruit. A major component of this research involves working with grower stakeholders with the goal of developing long term management programs that control this pest while also imposing minimal impacts on non-pest organisms.


Bethany_DumontDumont, Bethany (Beth) L.

Initiative for Biological Complexity Postdoctoral Research Scholar

Email   |   Personal website

Beth’s research uses house mice, voles, and publicly available genome sequences to understand how the mechanisms of inheritance vary within and between species. She is currently pursuing projects that investigate (i) how the mechanisms of chromosome segregation evolve in concert with chromosomal rearrangements; (ii) the genetic basis of recombination rate differences between populations and species; and (iii) how gene conversion influences patterns of sequence evolution across duplicated sectors of the human genome.


Fritz, Megan L.

Postdoctoral Research Scholar

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Megan is broadly interested in the evolutionary responses of insects to their constantly changing environment. Humans are an important source of this change, commonly imposing strong selection on insect populations inthe form of management tools. Her current research explores how the genomes of Lepidopteran agricultural pests respond to selection imposed by transgenic crops.


Griffiths, Emily

Postdoc

Hatano, Eduardo

Postdoctoral Research Scholar, Entomology

Email

Sand flies (Diptera: Psychodidae) are vectors of protozoan parasites that cause human leishmaniases. Reduction of exposure to sand fly bites is the most effective prevention measure. Chemical attractants from oviposition sites can provide the basis for a novel targeted surveillance technology. Eduardo Hatano studies microbial metabolites that are attractants or repellents for sand flies (Diptera: Psychodidae) using a stepwise approach combining chemical, electrophysiological and behavioral techniques.

Jeremy HeathHeath, Jeremy J.

Postdoctoral Research Scholar

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Jeremy’s research focuses on understanding the evolutionary and ecological implications of behaviorally and physiologically active male pheromones in heliothine moths. Female choice theory suggests that male pheromones convey information to females during courtship that advertise male fitness or the possession of nuptial gifts.

Hernandez, Javier

Postdoc

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Javier studies photoperiod regulation of colony development and social behavior in the temperate bumble bee Bombus impatiens.


Huang_WenHuang, Wen

Postdoctoral Research Scholar, Department of Biological Sciences

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Wen is broadly interested in how genetic variation of complex quantitative traits is generated and maintained in populations. He uses a combination of experimental and computational approaches to address basic questions in quantitative genetics and genomics, including laboratory evolution, transcriptomic profiling, next-generation sequencing, and statistical modeling.


kaj.hulthen
Hulthén, Kaj

Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Biological Sciences

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Kaj is broadly interested in the evolution of phenotypic variation. As a postdoctoral fellow in the Langerhans lab his research will focus on understanding to what extent environmental variation drives predictable patterns of covariation among the diverse trait types (behaviour, morphology, physiology) that make up the whole-organism (phenotypic integration). His research also aims to shed light on the degree to which trait correlation networks correspond between the phenotypic and genetic level and how multiple traits play out to generate integrated defense responses against predation-risk.


Chad_HunterHunter, Chad M.

Postdoctoral Fellow – Department of Biological Sciences, North Carolina State University

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Chad’s research is focused on understanding both the genetic and environmental contributions that give rise to recombination rate variation in Drosophila melanogaster.

Jacobson, Alana

Postdoc

Kim_JensenJensen, Kim

Postdoctoral Research Scholar, Department of Entomology

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Kim studies the ecology and genetics behind feeding decisions, and the fitness related outcomes of specific nutrient intake. He is interested in how nutrition affects life history parameters like growth, sexual development, reproduction, lifespan, and attractiveness. He is also interested in sexual selection on male courtship investment, which is a likely honest signal of his level of adaptation to environmental conditions, and in radiation of courtship signalling components as a result of female preference. His current work is on German cockroaches.


Rebecca LingerLinger, Rebecca J.

Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Entomology

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Diabetes is a global health issue, and foot ulcers and related complications are the largest cause of hospitalization of diabetes patients. Maggot debridement therapy (MDT) is an FDA approved treatment for diabetic foot ulcers and has been applied successfully in more than 20 additional medical conditions. MDT promotes wound healing through multiple mechanisms, including inhibition of bacterial growth and stimulation ofnew tissue formation; however, great potential exists for dramatically improving the clinical limitations of MDT. Rebecca’s lab has successfully created a transgenic strain of Lucilia sericata that expresses human platelet-derived growth factor, detectable in whole larval protein lysates and adult hemolymph. Our current aim is to enhance secretion of this protein from the larval salivary gland. We are also characterizing strains engineered to secrete additional peptides and proteins beneficial for wound healing. Our hope is that these strains will become a treatment option for patients that provides synergistic healing beyond current MDT benefits and a cost-effective treatment option for a global health problem.

Liu, Guowen

Postdoc

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Dr. Liu’s research involves using the silkworm, Bombyx mori, as a bioreactor to produce spider silk. He is also developing new gene targeting and mapping methods.


Lopez-Uribe_MargaritaLopez-Uribe, Margarita M.

Postdoctoral Researcher, Department of Entomology

Email   |   Personal website

Margarita is interested in understanding the underlying mechanisms of native bee decline. More specifically, she investigates how environmental change and life-history traits affect demography and long-term persistence of native bee pollinators.


Madden_AnneMadden, Anne A.

Postdoctoral Research Associate, Department of Biological Sciences

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Anne’s research investigates the diversity of bacteria and fungi within household arthropods, and how these arthropods contribute to the microbial communities of our houses. She also conducts ecologically and evolutionary informed studies to isolate wild yeasts for commercial fermentation products.


Muthusamy_NagendranMuthusamy, Nagendran

Postdoctoral Research Associate, Department of Molecular Biomedical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University

Email

In adult mice, neurogenesis continues in distinct brain regions, including the sub-ventricular zone of the lateral ventricles, the dendate gyrus of the hippocampus, and the hypothalamus. Nagendran’s research project is focused to understand the physiological significance of continuous integration of adult-born neurons in the olfactory bulb using a variety of techniques, including genetic manipulation of new-born neurons and behavioral testing in mice.


Okamoto, Kenichi

Postdoc

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Dr. Okamoto researches development and refinement models of Aedes aegypti population dynamics and genetics as well as models of dengue epidemiology. He also does comparisons of model performance to field dynamics.


Clint_PenickPenick, Clint A.

Postdoctoral Research Scholar, Department of Biological Sciences

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Clint studies behavioral ecology of social insects and how colony traits emerge from social interactions. Like an individual organism, colonies grow, they have a lifespan, make decisions, and respond to changes in their environment. Within this framework, Clint has worked on the development of dominance hierarchies, how colonies respond to climate, and the effects of urbanization on colony nutrition.


Ponnusamy, Loganathan

Postdoc

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Dr. Ponnusamy’s research goals are to identify the chemicals derived from bacterial metabolism that attract gravid Aedes mosquitoes and stimulate them to oviposit. He is also interested in the molecular microbial ecology of bacterial populations in mosquito habitats.


james-robertsRoberts, James

Post-Doc, Department of Chemistry

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James received his B.S. degree in Chemistry with honors from Lenoir-Rhyne College in Hickory, NC. He joined the group in 2008 and began work on advancing microelectrode technology for neuroscience applications and studying real-time fluctuations of molecules  in the rat brain with fast scan cyclic voltammetry. James enjoys cooking, bicycle riding, taking his dog to the park, and Formula One racing.


Mike Simone-FinstromSimone-Finstrom, Michael D.

USDA NIFA Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Department of Entomology

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Mike’s main research interests broadly lie within the fields of behavioral ecology and insect physiology under an evolutionary framework. More specifically, he is largely interested in mechanisms of disease resistance and impacts of parasites on honey bees, both at the individual and group/colony levels. He has been fortunate during his career so far to gather a diverse set of tools under his belt, ranging from basic beekeeping skills and field studies, to lab studies on learning, to pathology and molecular biology.<


Wada-Katsumata, Ayako

Postdoc

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Dr. Wada-Katsumata is broadly interested in olfaction and gustation in insects, including the neuroethological mechanisms that guide nestmate discrimination in ants and gustatory responses of females to sugars and phospholipid in male nuptial gifts in cockroaches. Her current project is behavioral and electrophysiological aspects of sugar aversion in the German cockroach.


Walsh, Rachael

Postdoc

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Dr. Walsh researches population dynamics of Aedes aegypti, the mosquito that transmits dengue fever. Her research involves integration of new field survey data and field experimental work into a detailed stochastic and spatially explicit mathematical model.


Ying Yan-PostdocYan, Ying

Postdoctoral Research Scholar, Department of Entomology

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Ying’s research focuses on making transgenic, male-only strains of pest insects, which can facilitate the area-wide integrated pest management program.


Elsa_YoungsteadtYoungsteadt, Elsa K.

Postdoctoral Research Associate, Department of Entomology

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Plants and insects diversified together, produce the fascinating array of interactions we see in the world today—from seed dispersal and pollination to herbivory. Elsa’s current research asks how urbanization and climate change alter plant-insect interactions, using scale insects and their host trees as a study system. Elsa is comparing scale-insect abundance across urban, latitudinal, experimental, and historical temperature gradients. Her other ongoing projects examine arthropod diversity and function across New York City green spaces, and the effects of Hurricane Sandy on New York’s urban insects. Ultimately, her goal is to understand how human activities, including both urbanization and restoration, can be guided to preserve a diversity of plants, insects, and their interactions.


Shanshan_ZhouZhou, Shanshan

Postdoc

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Dr. Zhou studies the genetic basis of phenotypic plasticity using Drosophila melanogaster, integrating whole genome transcriptional variation and organismal phenotypic variation under different ecologically relevant environments.