Our lab’s focus is on the evolutionary ecology of interactions between microbes and hosts. We are interested in how both beneficial and harmful microbes establish and maintain relationships with their hosts. Such associations are shaped by ecological limitations on host and symbiont range, evolutionary trade-offs for both hosts and microbes, and host immunology. We combine genomic and experimental approaches to study these forces in diverse insect-microbe systems. To address these topics, we utilize the versatility of systems in which both the hosts and their microbial partners and pathogens can be maintained in the laboratory.
In addition to passing their quals, Kayla and Sandra also managed other accomplishments this semester. The Society for the Study of Evolution awarded Kayla an R.C. Lewontin Early Award grant to collect field samples for her dissertation research. Only 24 out of over 150 applicants received the award!
Sandra joined the biology department’s volleyball team (in the midst of quals), and they placed second in this year’s Staff Fest tournament! Below is Sandra in action (left) and showcasing her medal (right).