OSyM Participants

    • Type of Researcher
    Members
    Kerry McGowan
    Organismal Biologist
    Graduate Student
    Washington State University
    kerry.mcgowan@wsu.edu
    Twitter
    Research Summary

    The core question in my research is how organisms adapt to extreme environments. I work on a poeciliid fish species complex that lives in several freshwater drainages in southern Mexico. Populations of this species have also successfully colonized nearby springs rich in hydrogen sulfide, a toxic gas lethal to most metazoans at low concentrations. I am interested in elucidating the genetic mechanisms underlying the adaptations in these fish living in sulfidic conditions and how their adaptation strategies differ looking across different springs. One area that I am focusing on is understanding changes in the regulatory networks that control the expression of genes related to hydrogen sulfide detoxification and aerobic metabolism. My research aims to discover candidate regulatory genes that control these processes in poeciliid fishes living in sulfidic environments by using differential gene expression, gene set enrichment analyses, and network analyses.


    Biographical Info

    I am a third year Ph.D. student at Washington State University under the mentorship of Dr. Joanna Kelley. I am broadly interested in evolutionary genomics, population genetics, and adaptation to extreme environments.

    I received my B.S. in Biology from Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA. I was fortunate to be introduced to research through the mentorship of Dr. Erika Iyengar during my time at Muhlenberg. I was also a participant in the University of Washington's Research Experience for Undergraduates at Friday Harbor Laboratories researching intertidal epibiosis. After graduating from Muhlenberg, I interned at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum in the Departments of Entomology and Invertebrate Zoology. Before enrolling as a graduate student at Washington State University, I served two terms as an AmeriCorps member in Flagstaff, AZ and Seattle, WA.


    Elyse McMahon
    Organismal Biologist
    PhD student
    Pennsylvania State University
    ekm5112@gmail.com
    Twitter
    Research Summary

    I study how personality is associated with different physiological mechanisms. My overarching goal is to better understand why we see population variation from the perspective of studying the individual. My current research is conducted in laboratory settings which allows me to study interacting physiological mechanisms in controlled environments. I currently study acute stress responses in autonomic and endocrine systems, innate and adaptive immune function, gut microbiome diversity, and neuronal function. By collecting these cross-physiological system data, I can determine the networks that underlie behavioral phenotypes.


    Biographical Info

    I am a third year PhD student at Penn State University. I study how physiological mechanisms interact and are associated with personality. My lab asks questions to understand why we see differences between individuals and to better understand life-long fitness and health consequences from these physiological differences. My goals are to better understand why we see population variation and understand the mechanisms allowing flexibility or stability in changing environments. To answer this question, I plan to study different physiological systems and create an integrated physiological profile to understand underlying mechanisms that result in varying fitness and health outcomes.


    Fred Nijhout
    Modeler, Organismal Biologist
    Professor
    Duke University
    hfn@duke.edu
    Research Summary

    Developmental physiology. Control of size and shape in development. Polyphenisms. Allometry. Pattern formation.
    I do wet-lab research on the above systems. I also do a lot of mathematical modeling of those systems.
    In addition, I collaborate with Mike Reed (Duke Mathematcis) in modeling metabolic systems relevant to human health, in which we study the mecahnsism of robustness sand homeostasis.


    Biographical Info

    I have been a Full Professor at Duke University since 1987.


    Natascha Ouillon
    Organismal Biologist
    PhD graduate student
    University of Rostock (Germany)
    natascha.ouillon@gmail.com
    Research Summary

    I am interested in impacts of environmental changes on the physiology and behavior of marine organisms. My PhD in integrative biology at the University of Rostock (Germany), is entitled "Bioenergetics-mediated effects of multiple stressors on marine bioturbators in shallow coastal ecosystems". I focus on the combined effects of constant and cyclic hypoxia and hypercapnia on a common bioturbator Mya arenaria at different levels (molecular and individual). I am assessing their digging activity, respiration and filtration rate (on the individual level), total energy reserves and their mitochondrial function (on the molecular level).Furthermore, I try to link the different observed physiological and molecular stress responses to the whole organism to see impacts on their fitness. Another project of my PhD is to perform modelling at the individual level by using the concept of DEB (Dynamic Energy Budget theory).


    Biographical Info

    From a marine and coastal ecology education, I obtained a Bachelor in “Marine Biology and Ecology” and a Master in “Ecology and dynamics of estuaries and coasts” from the University of La Rochelle (France). Since the beginning of my studies, my research interests focuses on the impact of environmental changes, whether natural or human-induced, on the physiology of marine organism. I had the chance to assess the impact of environmental variability (Hypoxia, Temperature, pH) from the individual to the molecular level. I am currently doing my PhD by focusing on bioenergetics-mediated effects of multiple stressors (hypoxia and hypercapnia) on marine bioturbators (Mya arenaria) in shallow coastal ecosystems at the University of Rostock (Germany).


    Dianna Padilla
    Organismal Biologist
    Professor
    Stony Brook University
    Deparment of Ecology and Evolution
    dianna.padilla@stonybrook.edu
    Research Summary

    My research focuses on phenotypically plastic responses of organisms to environmental change, functional morphology and ecology of marine invertebrates and algae, life histories of marine invertebrates, and invasion biology.


    Biographical Info

    Dianna grew up in Wyomig, recevied Bachelors Degrees in Biological Oceanography and Zoology and the University of Washington, a MS in Zoology at Oregon State University, and PhD at the University of Alberta, Canada, and was a postdoc at Cornell before taking a job at the University of Wisconsin. After 8 years she left Wisconsin and moved to Stony Brook.


    Keywords: functional ecology, phenotypic plasticity, responses to climate change, marine invertebrates, functional morphology, invasion biololgy
    Matthew Reidenbach
    Biomechanic, Engineer
    Professor
    University of Virginia
    University of Virginia
    reidenbach@virginia.edu
    Matt Reidenbach research website
    Research Summary

    My primary area of research is environmental fluid dynamics, with an emphasis on fluid-biological interactions in coastal environments. Current studies include the effects of flow and turbulence on nutrient exchange in coral reefs, larval transport in estuaries, chemical dispersion in the coastal ocean, and wave dynamics. I also study biomechanics of marine organisms, including olfaction and mechano-sensing in lobsters, crabs, crayfish, and larvae.


    Biographical Info

    I am a professor in the Department of Environmental Sciences at the University of Virginia.


    Corey Rennolds
    Organismal Biologist
    PhD candidate
    University of Maryland, College Park
    Biological Sciences program, Bely Lab
    rennolds@umd.edu
    Research Summary

    I am broadly interested in ecophysiology, toxicology, aquatic ecology, and invertebrate zoology. My doctoral work is concerned with the physiological costs and ecological consequences of injury and regeneration in annelids. In particular, I am investigating how the loss and absence of particular body parts impacts biological function and distinguishing these effects from the costs of regenerating those same body parts. These effects have included altered tolerance to environmental stressors, reduced reproductive investment, and decreased lifespan. Linking experimental results to ecological significance of injury, including repeated injury, remains a focal challenge of my work. I am also engaged in projects to determine how environmental factors, both biotic and abiotic, may affect the prevalence and severity of injury and the consequences injury may have on freshwater annelid populations and the communities in which they exist.


    Biographical Info

    I am currently a PhD candidate in the Biological Sciences program at the University of Maryland, College Park in the laboratory of Dr. Alexandra Bely. I earned my Bachelor of Science in Biology at the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2013, where I was mentored by Dr. Terry Snell. I was born and raised in the Atlanta, GA area. Powder Springs Elementary spelling bee champion of '02. When not teaching or working on my dissertation, I enjoy writing and playing music, being in nature, cooking, reading (politics, philosophy, & horror mostly—and a little bit of science, too), and writing fiction.


    Kelsi Rutledge
    Biomechanic, Organismal Biologist
    PhD Student
    UCLA
    kelsi.rutledge@gmail.com
    Personal Website
    Twitter
    Research Summary

    I am generally interested in how animals move and sense in their environment. My current research explores the macroscale principles of chemoreception in batoid fishes, specifically how their nasal morphology influences odorant capture at differing Reynolds numbers. Additional questions I have pursued and published on include: the material properties and mechanics of stingray jaws, the kinematics of rigid-body boxfish swimming, guitarfish taxonomy and systematics, and the ecology of fishes living in restored reef habitats.


    Biographical Info

    I am a PhD student at UCLA where I collaborate interdepartmentally with biology and mechanical engineering.