BS: Plant and Environmental Soil Science, Texas A&M University (2017)
While at the Medina lab, my work focused on the tawny crazy ant (TCA), Nylanderia fulva. My initial project focused on the behavior of TCA when exposed to the sugarcane aphid, Melanaphis sacchari. This was conducted in order to determine the potential role of TCA in sugarcane aphid IPM. No significant differences in behavior were found when comparing TCA preference for different sugars, however more trials need to be conducted in order come to final conclusions. This past year I worked on a project that expanded on the tunneling behavior of TCA when subjected to various soil types. It had been assumed that TCA inhabits soil cavities already present. My preliminary data showed that TCA actually digs tunnels. I exposed TCA to different substrates and found no significant difference in digging behavior (as measured by the length of vertical, horizontal or total tunneling) among the different substrates tested. Research has thought me many lessons that I will implement in my daily life.
(Former undergraduate student worker)
BS: Entomology, Texas A&M University (2009)
At the Medina lab I helped with a project that involved one of the most prominent pests of potatoes worwide: The potato tuberworm (PTW) Phthorimaea operculella. The objective of this study was to determine the population structure of PTW in the US. PTW adults were collected from potato fields in the major potato production regions of the US. Amplified fragment length polymorphisms (AFLP) were used to determine the genetic population structure of PTW. We used 219 individuals and 335 polymorphic AFLP bands to infer the geographic population structure of PTW. The Bayesian based model provided by STRUCTURE 2.2 confirmed the existence of two distinct populations. Besides working on this project, I was working on anoother population genetics project involving Dalbulus maidis, an important corn pest. During my time at the Medina lab I presented the results of my work at the Entomological Society of America Annual Meeting in Indianapolis in 2009 and I co-authored a paper with Dr. Medina and Dr. Rondon (Oregon State University).
(Former Undergraduate Student Worker)
BS: Wildlife and Fisheries, Texas A&M University (2009)
During my time at the Medina lab, I worked with the pecan nutcase bearer. The pecan nut casebearer (PNC) Acrobasis nuxvorella Neunzig (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae) is the most devastating pest of pecan Carya illinoinensis (Wang) K. Koch (Fagales: Juglandaceae). Previous research has shown that two sex pheromones are effective at attracting PNC. It has been found that one pheromone attracts moths in the southern US and in Mexico, while the other pheromone attracts moths only in the US. Using AFLP markers, it has been determined that pheromone strains within PNC do not exist. However, moths captured in the US were reproductively isolated from those captured in Mexico. I completed olfactometric tests in order to determine if individual male PNC from the US and Mexico would respond differently to the two available pheromones when given the opportunity to choose a pheromone multiple times (i.e. males were tested once per day for five consecutive days). The overall response of an individual was then compared to the genetic profile of the individual to determine if there was a correlation between behavioral response and genetic fingerprint. During my time in the lab I presented the results of my research at the Entomological Society of America Annual meeting in Indianapolis in 2009.
(Former Undergraduate Student Worker)
University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey
BS: Biomedical Science, Texas A&M University (2008)
I am interested in genetics and its application in medicine, and its involvement in diagnosis management of disorders. It is a question if there are certain markers that may predetermine a condition. There is potential in discovering causes for developmental conditions. Knowing the cause may assist in prevention and may lead to treatments. At the Medina lab I used genetics to characterize insect populations of potato tuberworms, and to infer migration patterns of this insect across the United States. I am currently a Graduate Student at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. I plan on obtaining a Masters in Biomedical Science and working to assist with health care in genetics. During my time at the Medina lab I presented the results of my work at the Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting in Milwaukee in 2008.