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Graduate Students

Research Interests:  I am fascinated by the sensory ecology of plants, insects that eat plants, and the predators that eat those insects.  My research focuses primarily on chemical and acoustic communication with the goal of revealing pest solutions that can be found in nature. NickAflitto.com
 
Research Interests: My name is Fatimah ALghanim and I am from Saudi Arabia. I am a first year PhD student in the Microbiology Department and work in the laboratory of Pr Buchon. I am interested in identifying microbial genes that underlie host microbe relationships. I focus on using microbial genetics and genomics to identify the bacterial activities that influence microbial colonization, growth and pathogenesis. I use Drosophila as a powerful model that allows to dissect the interactions between host and microbial genes in an integrative framework. My work includes the study of bacterial virulence in a model of sepsis and the identification of genes that differ between probiotic strains and related pathobionts. One of my goals is to understand how immune homeostasis is maintained in the intestines, as such discoveries would have broad implications for the development of therapeutics and prophylactics for many inflammatory diseases.
I also love teaching and was a lecturer in Saudi Arabia. In addition, I worked as a biology teacher in the New York Academy of Science and I am a member of the American Society of Microbiology.
 
 
Research Interests: “I have a keen interest in the taxonomy, systematics, distribution, and host plant associations of moths, particularly the more poorly-studied families. I have experience collecting moths (and other insects) throughout the southeastern and southwestern United States.”
Research Interest: In the last few months, I have found a real interest in host-behavior manipulation. Looking at the neuro-mechanisms behind behavioral changes sounds incredible. Also after spending time at the Cocha Cashu research station in Manu National Park, Peru, I have found interest in ecology such as how members of the same species interact and acquire resources.
Research Interest: Lindsay Baxter Joined the lHarrington ab in August 2017. She is a research technician and works as a support staff on most projects being carried out in the lab. She completed her Bachelors of Science in Molecular and Microbiology at Portland State University in 2014. Lindsay is now pursuing a Master’s degree and is interested in working on applied research projects and enhancing public education regarding medical entomology. As a West Coast native she seeks wide open spaces in her free time and she enjoys swimming, podcasting and travel.
Research Interests: 
 
"I am an evolutionary biologist specialized in the biology of bees. I study the natural history of bees and wasps as a grad student in Bryan Danforth's lab. My research includes methodological studies on bioinformatics of phylogenomics and next generation sequence data. I also work on less code-intensive empirical studies, like the reconstruction of the evolutionary history of the large sweat bee subfamily Nomiinae. These are pretty cool and understudied bees!
 
I hold a Master's degree in Zoology from the University of Vienna, where I studied the phylogeny and ecology of the Bombus lucorum complex under supervision of Harald Krenn."
Research Interests:  Starting this fall, I will begin working with Dr. Greg Loeb investigating chemical ecology and pathogen biology in spotted wing drosophila. The goal behind our work is tease out interactions that we can use to our advantage in a small fruit pest management program. In the past, I worked under Dr. John Burand and Dr. Joe Elkinton at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst studying virus prevalence in managed and natural insect pollinators as well as molecular characteristics of forest pest pathogens. Moving forward, I am interested in disease dynamics between insects and agricultural systems, namely how plant and insect pathogens move through agroenvironments and how they alter insect and plant behaviors.
Research Interest: Cierra Briggs joined the lab in the Fall of 2019 in pursuit of an MS in Vector-Borne Disease Biology. She is a native of Dallas, Texas, and graduated as a double major in Biomedical Sciences and Entomology from Texas A&M University in the Spring of 2019. While completing her Bachelor’s degree, Cierra worked as a student assistant in Dr. Gabriel Hamer’s infectious disease ecology laboratory. During this time, she became aware of issues related to arbovirus transmission along the Texas-Mexico border while setting mosquito traps in South Texas and conducting viral testing of collected mosquitoes. These experiences combined with work on soft tick blood meal analysis and the testing of DNA-based mosquito tracking techniques further developed her interest in how human and animal interactions affect disease transmission through vectors. Additionally, involvement on other projects lead to an interest in how disease transmission could be altered by coinfection of Insect Specific Viruses in Aedes aegypti. Currently, Cierra’s research interests are in vector surveillance and how One Health is affected by and influences vectors. When not studying or working, Cierra enjoys photography, exploring National and State Parks, two-stepping, and assisting with equine based therapy.
Research Interest: I am pursuing an MS/PhD in Entomology with the purpose of contributing in our understanding of the molecular mechanisms of insect resistance under specific environment conditions, including their effects on ecological processes at the community and ecosystem. I would like to drive a project under the mentorship of Dr. Ping Wang with the purpose of studying insect resistance to pesticide and intoxication pathways in an attempt to improve the chances of survival of the plant, and contributing to the production of better products for our agricultural industry. The idea would be to focus on the evolution of pesticide resistance in insect populations with implication for the development of novel pest management strategies.
Research Interest: I attended the University of Maryland - College Park intending to focus on human genetics but became passionate about mosquito research soon (then insects in general) after I became a lab technician responsible for rearing Culex pipiens mosquitoes. Throughout college, I have been researching the basis of host preference for this particular mosquito, given how some subpopulations prefer different hosts. This research experience inspired me to learn more about mosquitoes and other disease vectors, specifically strategies related to managing vector-borne diseases. It also inspired me to become someone that could bridge the gap between technical research in vector-borne disease biology and the general public. Someday, I would like to contribute my experience here back to my home country, the Philippines, where the fight against mosquito-borne disease is still going strong. In my spare time, some of the activities I like doing include writing/ playing original songs, watching foreign films, and learning new languages.
 
Research Interest: I am interested in host-microbe interactions, and I am specifically interested in the Drosophila gut microbiome. I want to study evolution in context of the microbiome such as how does host genetic variation impact its gut microbiome and vice versa. I currently investigate the potential role the Drosophila melanogaster microbiome may have in the tradeoff of surviving environmental stress and infection.
Research Interests: “I am fascinated by how plant chemistry and insect physiology mediate multi-species interactions. In graduate school, I plan to study how plants manage multiple mutualists and antagonists under variable biotic and abiotic conditions. It is my goal to study evolutionary ecology in systems applicable to agriculture and conservation. I have a particular interest in push-pull management approaches and landscape-scale insectary plantings, and would like to work to apply theoretical research through Cornell Cooperative Extension and other public outreach avenues.”
Research Interests: I am broadly interested in the ecology and conservation of native pollinators. For my master’s dissertation at the University of Oxford, I investigated the prevalence of pathogens in syrphid flies. At Cornell, I would like to study the potential effects of disease, pesticide exposure, and climate change on the ability of native pollinators to fulfill critical pollination services. Under the supervision of Dr. Scott McArt, I hope to translate the scientific results into policy suggestions and guidelines.
Research Interests: My field of interest is ecology as it applies to decomposition and forensic entomology and I am applying as an MS student in Entomology. I am fascinated by all aspects of vertebrate decomposition and the arthropods associated with the process. As an undergrad at Cornell I have worked with Dr. Shields on a project in association with Colorado Mesa University’s Forensic Investigation Research Station to better understand the necrophagous and saprophagous fauna associated with cadavers in semi-arid environments. Dr. Shields and I are hoping to continue and expand this project by conducting experiments into how desiccation can impact the succession of insects on a cadaver.
Research Interests: I am a graduate student in Dr. Kyle Wickings' lab. My interests include soil health, above- and below-ground biotic interactions, and the range of ecosystem services that soil dwelling organisms provide to agricultural crops. My research will investigate the trade-offs between soil health management practices and pest management tactics. Specifically, I'll be looking at the effects of pesticide use practices on soil fauna and microbial activity, and the implications for soil biological processes such as fertility and biological control.
Research Interest: I am broadly interested in applied ecological research and conservation biology of pollinators. I am working with Dr. Scott McArt in the fascinating field of bumble bee epidemiology, with a focus on floral features influencing disease transmission. I am interested in exploring disease distribution/spread at a network scale through time.
Research Interests: I studied ecology and evolutionary biology as an undergraduate, followed by a fifth year Masters of Public Health with a concentration in epidemiology of microbial diseases. I am interested in combining these two fields of study as they relate to Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. The complexity of the way in which the ecology of Ae. aegypti mosquitoes is intertwined with the social structure of humans is fascinating. Under the guidance of Professor Laura Harrington, I hope to investigate methods by which to harness the natural ecology and biology of these mosquitoes to control their population and ultimately reduce the burden of disease. 
Research Interest: I am applying as a M.S. student under Dr. Jeff Scott.  I am interested broadly in the diversity of insects and the genetics that underpin the evolution of this diversity.  As a strong potential driver of evolution, insecticide pressure is an interesting system for answering theoretical evolutionary questions with a practical bent that is very attractive to me.  I hope to work further exploring the molecular basis of insecticide resistance in Thrips tabaci, but also have interest in the well-explored system of the house fly. 
Research Interests:  I am a 6th year PhD student in the Thaler lab. My research focuses on tri-trophic interactions between plants, herbivorous insects, and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. Specifically, I work on the conditionality of this plant-fungus mutualism, and the biotic and abiotic factors that shape the plant’s susceptibility and resistance strategies to herbivory. In addition, I develop software for entomological and ecological research. Check out LeafByte: a free mobile app for measuring leaf area and herbivory. 
Personal website:https://zoegp.science/
Twitter-@herbivory1
Research Interests: My goal is to promote healthy plant populations through integrated pest management, whether it be in a greenhouse or forest setting. I am applying to Cornell for the MS in Entomology program, and have spoken with Dr. Sanderson about exploring more effective biological control for greenhouse pests such as thrips and aphids. I am especially interested in studying the life cycle and behavior of beneficial species, in order to better incorporate them into IPM programs.
Research Interests: I am a graduate student co-advised by Dr. Brian Lazzaro (Entomology) and Dr. Mariana Wolfner (Molecular Biology and Genetics). My research focuses on understanding the mechanisms that determine the trade-off between reproduction and immunity in Drosophila melanogaster. Mated females have a lower capacity to induce antimicrobial gene expression, and have a higher bacterial load and higher risk of death than virgin females after infection. Previous research has shown that sex peptide, a seminal fluid protein, activates production of juvenile hormone in the female corpus allatum. Juvenile hormone promotes egg production, but also suppresses the immune response. I am interested in determining 1) how investment of resources to egg production, particularly yolk proteins, limits immune response and 2) the mechanism through which juvenile hormone directly or indirectly suppresses immunity. 
Research Interests: I’m principally interested in the interactions of social insects with microbial symbionts. I am curious to see how microbes, when associated with insect societies, impact the behavior and physiology of the individual insects, as well as the social behaviors of the entire society. I’m also interested in the role that microbial symbionts played in shaping the evolution of different social insect species.
Research Interests: "Beginning in the fall of 2018, I will be working in Dr. Laura Harrington’s lab. I am interested in exploring the way human health is impacted by environmental factors. Specifically, my research is guided by a general concern with population dynamics of vector-borne diseases and searching for methods of prevention, management, and control for both disease and vectors. I hope to use the knowledge and experience I gain at Cornell to help protect communities from these diseases on both the domestic and international level."  
 
Research Interests: I am interested in studying major disease vectors, especially Aedes and Anopheles mosquitos, from the standpoint of cell and molecular biology.  I am applying to the Entomology Field because I want to cultivate broad expertise in insect physiology and phylogeny, and I am interested in pursuing projects that will translate previous work in Drosophila into studies of mosquitos.  If I am admitted to Cornell’s PhD program in entomology, I plan to work under the guidance of Dr. Buchon to adapt his FACS/transcriptomic system to study midgut biology and host/microbe interactions in Aedes mosquitos.
Research Interest: “I am interested in exploring how soil fauna can be managed to increase crop production while improving soil health. I hope to develop our understanding of the relationships between soil properties, mesofauna communities, and plant growth."
Research Interest: Insect sociality and communication, chemical ecology, and invasive ecology are my top three interests. I am interested in the underlying factors/mechanisms that drive sociality among insect populations and the different signals and interactions they share with other surrounding organisms (plants, fungi, other root herbivores and soil arthropods). I am also very curious about asking questions surrounding invasive entomology (basic natural history research, epidemiological impacts of introduced species, impacts on native landscapes of flora and fauna) in the chemical ecology context. In studying these specific relationships, I believe there is great potential for applied and interdisciplinary research opportunities. 
Research Interests:  I am broadly interested in insect ecology and natural history, and particularly in community and landscape ecology. For my M.Sc. research at Purdue University, I focused on behavioral and chemical ecology of ants. Specifically, I studied odorous house ants, a native North American ant which has an extremely variable social structure which seems to relate in some way to its success in urban areas. For my PhD at Cornell, I would like to focus on community ecology in agroecosystems under the supervision of Dr. Katja Poveda. I am particularly interested in understanding how diversity and community composition relate to ecosystem services such as pest control by natural enemies.
Research Interests:  I am interested in understanding how new morphological features develop and evolve to create the amazing diversity of forms we see in nature. Variations in morphology during evolution are the result of changes in regulatory programs during development. Thus, I want to focus on gene interactions specifically in the development of wing color patterns of Heliconius butterflies. My work should provide insights to understand what changes in developmental gene regulatory networks contribute to the formation of new phenotypes.
Research Interests: I am interested in microbial symbiosis and understanding the chemical interactions and the underlying co-evolution that occurs between a host (in particular insects) and their microbial partners. I received my BS and MS in Microbiology from the University of Arizona under the tutelage of Patricia Stock studying the tripartite symbiosis between insects, insect pathogenic nematodes and their mutualistic bacterial partners.
Research Interests: I am applying to Cornell for a MS in Entomology.  My interests within the field are insect-plant interactions and landscape ecology with an emphasis on applied research.  I am largely interested in how the landscape, such as location, isolation, and size of fields influences pest populations.  I am also interested in how management within fields and in the surrounding areas, including soil management such as tillage and pesticide use, influences populations of both pests and beneficial insects.  More specifically, I would like to work with onion thrips resistance in the lab of Dr. Brian Nault, who is taking a landscape level approach to analyzing onion thrips resistance to spinetoram in onion and other field and vegetable cropping systems.  In addition to honing research skills, I would like to focus efforts on extension and outreach to become acquainted with the challenges faced by growers in the region.
Research Interests: My major research interests broadly pertain to the taxonomic and identifiable characteristics of
insects and arthropods. Particularly, I am interested in utilizing classification techniques in the
diagnosis and sustainable eradication of invasive insect species. In addition to conducting relevant
research, I hope to use my academic experience to educate the public through outreach and
volunteering opportunities.
 
Research Interest: I am agronomist, with a master degree on entomology and I am applying to Cornell as a PhD student. Since my bachelor I have been interested in the plant – insect interactions. At the beginning of my career I worked with honey bees and stingless bees, identifying their trophic niche and their potential as crop pollinators. Last years I have been more involved in pest management in tropical crops. Now, for my PhD project under the direction of Dr. Katja Poveda, I would like to combine these two aspects to develop integrated solutions for farmers, controlling pests but at the same taking care of pollinators. To do that I want to learn more about agroecology, chemical ecology and pest management strategies.  
Research Interests: Jaime Ortiz is a Galápagueño dedicated to preserving island ecosystems. For his doctorate, Jaime will be studying the invasive earthworms in the Galapagos Islands, which together with invasive ants may be contributing to the spread of invasive plant populations. Jaime’s goal is to understand the introduction history of invasive earthworms and their evolutive response to the hostile environment of the Galapagos and to the co-occurrence of other invasive species, using mainly phylogenetic tools.
 
 
Manuel Ricardo Perez Alvarez
Research Interests: I am interested in insect ecology and community ecology, and the application of ecological theory for risk assessment and management of transgenic crops and conventional agricultural methods. I would like to address how GM crops may affect ecological functions and associated ecosystem services of the tropical agro ecosystems using two different approaches: ecological network analysis and functional biodiversity.
Research Interests: Interviewing by Skype/Zoom I am a graduate student from Brazil. I have been studying Neotropical
Drosophilidae ecology, species identification (based on external morphology and male terminalia
analysis) and taxonomy, as well as evolution in a Neartic Drosophila species. My research interests
are speciation, ecology, taxonomy, and phylogenetics, and Hawaiian Drosophilidae would be an
outstanding model for my studies.
Research Interests: My primary research interests lie in the field of evolutionary biology. I am particularly interested in life history evolution and ecological immunology. I would like to study the mechanisms through which know modulators,  such as age, mating status, nutritional status, genetic architecture etc, affect immune function while also trying to identify novel modulators. Since my academic interests overlap with thowe of  Dr. Lazzaro's lab, I hope to work in his lab. 
Research Interests: B.S. Ecology, B.S.E.S. Entomology, University of Georgia (2018). For nearly five years my research has
focused largely on the monarch butterfly-milkweed system where I have investigated the role of
milkweed in monarch disease transmission, migratory propensity, and diapause induction. My
honors thesis project examined the role of environmental cues in mediating monarch metabolic
rate, which could have implications for migratory success. In my graduate work, I propose to
examine butterfly-plant interactions more broadly by quantifying the impacts of agricultural land use
and habitat restoration on prairie butterflies and their ecological communities. By examining shifts in
butterfly-plant interactions across natural, disturbed and restored sites I hope to improve scientific
understanding of the ecological role butterflies play and inform management strategies for
conservation and restoration
Research Interests; “I am interested in furthering my knowledge in mosquito identification and surveillance techniques. I hope to learn in-depth details about mosquito physiology and biology including their ecological preferences and reproduction evolution in response to climate change or chemicals (pesticides), especially of Aedes albopictus and Aedes aegypti. Likewise, I would like to gain knowledge in vector-borne pathogens and delve into vaccines for vector-borne diseases so that I can contribute to control or eradicate vector-borne illnesses such as zika and chikungunya on a national as well as global level. Furthermore, I would like to garner/strengthen data analysis and management skills.” 
Research Interests:  I am interested in the biology of vector-borne diseases. For my undergraduate research at the University of California, Los Angeles, I focused on the intersection between biology and global development; specifically, I looked at how anthropogenic impact affects animal behavior. For my Ph.D. at Cornell University, I would like to study the impact of climate change on mosquito behavior and physiology under the supervision of Laura Harrington. I am particularly interested in understanding how these changes may influence the dynamics of disease transfer.
Research Interests:  My fields of interest are biochemistry, molecular and cell biology, toxicology, and population genetics and I am applying to Cornell as a PhD student in Entomology. I am fascinated by the life cycle, behavior, and ecology of mosquitoes and other insects. More precisely, I would like to study resistance to insecticides because this is a field where I can evidence evolution happening every day to the mosquito population. Finally, I would like to drive a project under the direction of Dr. Scott: the idea would be to seek molecular markers involved in resistance to insecticides using A. aegypti as target organism.
Research Interests: “My name is James Stewart and I am an Entomology: Vector-Borne Disease Biology MS applicant. I am motivated to pursue an education and career in this field due to a lifelong interest in the biological sciences and infectious disease. I am fascinated by a wide range of topics, including pathogen influence on host behavior, factors impacting vectorial capacity, and aspects of vector biology that can be exploited to develop efficient control methods. I am attracted to Cornell because of the broad, interdisciplinary nature of the new program, as well as the inspiring research and reputation of its many talented faculty. I believe my interests overlap strongly with the overarching goals of the Northeast Regional Center for Excellence in Vector-Borne Disease Research (NEVBD) and its many principal investigators. I am confident that a master’s degree from Cornell will enable me to develop meaningful relationships and a rewarding career within the realm of public health entomology. I am looking forward to meeting faculty and students involved with the Entomology Department and NEVBD during the upcoming recruitment event.”
Research Interest: I am interested in the biology of disease vectors, specifically mosquito species. I would like to investigate further how ecology plays a role in disease transmission. In addition I am interested in how the behavior of vector species effects their capacity to transmit disease and reproduce effectively. 
 
Research Interests:  I am interested in the spatial ecology of beneficial insects in agricultural landscapes. For my undergraduate and M.Sc. research at Yale University, I focused on the interaction networks of wild bee communities in old-field meadows across human impact gradients. For my Ph.D., I would like to continue studying landscape scale beneficial insect dynamics and theory-driven conservation with Prof. Bryan Danforth. I am particularly interested in understanding early season forage provisioning and factors affecting nest site availability for wild bee pollinators in apple orchards.
Research Interests: After finishing my MS work at Utah State University, I am hoping to begin a PhD program that will provide the training necessary in pursuing a career in university extension. My primary interest in research includes the development of pest management strategies, and particularly biological control, that provide sustainable control of arthropod pests in agriculture. In the northeastern U.S., cyclamen mites pose serious threats to strawberry production while little is known of their biology and management. I would like to address this issue in a PhD project with Dr. Greg Loeb at Cornell that emphasizes biocontrol, while also developing educational materials that extends this research to local growers.