I am very excited to announce that we have several new members of the Milligan-Myhre lab. In alphabetical order:
Katie D’Amelio, research technician, completed her M.S. at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA where she studied the gut microbiome of army ants. Her research focused on identifying how different factors such as host genetics, transmission mode, and host natural history may shape the diversity of microbes found within the army ant gut. She has switched from insects to vertebrates and now studies the gut microbiota of stickleback fish in the Kat Lab. She will focus on sequencing bacterial communities of stickleback guts and creating whole genomes of bacterial isolates.
Lucas J. Kirschman, postdoc, is a physiological ecologist who studies how life history trade-offs affect animal development, immune function and how these interactions can scale up to ecosystem level processes. He recently received his Ph.D. from Southern Illinois University Carbondale where he studied the pleiotropic effects of neuroendocrine stress on during a critical window of development in larval amphibians. Dr. Kirschman will initially focus on host selection and shaping of gut microbial communities, including both developmental tradeoffs and immune response genes.
Amber R. Nashoba, postdoc and research professional, is interested in the application of evolutionary theory to understand and address environmental change. Her dissertation research studied population-level adaptation, natural selection, and the response to selection of a native prairie legume (Chamaecrista fasciculata). This project focused on the empirical application of Fisher’s Fundamental Theorem of Natural Selection and among-year environmental variation in the form of trait relationships, adaptive capacity, and fitness landscapes. She recently completed a Future Faculty Fellowship at the Northeastern University; during this time, she examined allele frequency change in drought and salinity associated genes in newly restored Spartina alterniflora in a Rhode Island salt marsh. In our lab, Dr. Nashoba will focus on phenotypic changes in a population of stickleback that is undergoing rapid selection and adaption to a novel microbial environment. Dr. Nashoba has been a member of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society since 2011.
Kat O’Brien, fish technician, previously worked at Northeastern University modeling Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) in the Gulf of Maine. With the rising ocean temperature and cod stocks declining, EFH is a good indicator where the few remaining cod could be. This information enables researchers and managers to make cogent decisions on fishing area designations. O’Brien now works as a husbandry technician at UAA, working in both the vivarium and in the Milligan-Myhre labs. She will focus on creating a vivarium for our recently funded stickleback stock center. O’Brien enjoys fly fishing, beach combing for sea glass, walking her dog, and SCUBA diving (not in Alaska).
I’m very excited about our newest members! Now, back to the science.