Graduate Student, The Brisson Lab
You work in a laboratory. What are you currently researching?
I study wing plasticity in pea aphids. Females of this species can be either winged or wingless, depending on the environment their mother experienced – a mother aphid living on a plant that’s crowded with lots of aphids will produce winged daughters that can fly away to find a new host plant, while a mother living on a less crowded plant will produce mostly wingless daughters. We’ve noticed, however, that some aphid lineages have a strong response to crowding and produce many winged daughters, while other aphid lineages have a weak response to crowding and produce few winged daughters. I’m working on understanding the genetic basis of these differences.
What was it that originally sparked your interest in biology?
I took an introductory biology class for a course requirement in undergrad and quickly became fascinated by biology. One of my professors invited me to come work in her lab, and that was it – I was hooked! I love doing research and being able to answer my own questions with data.
What do you enjoy most about working here at the U of R?
I love the community here! We’re not a very big department, and I like the close-knit environment that produces. When I walk down the hall, I know almost everyone I run into.
What advice would you give to prospective students looking to study in our department?
One great thing about the grad program here is the opportunity to do rotations – they are a great way to get to know people, interact with different labs, and learn a wide variety of techniques. I’d definitely advise incoming students to take full advantage of their rotations.
How do you unwind when you’re not in the lab?
I like to hang out with my friends, watch movies, and read. I go to the public library almost every week!