Kevin Deem

Postdoctoral Research Associate, The Brisson Lab

You work in a laboratory. What are you currently researching?

I am currently researching how aphids produce wingless offspring in different ways, and how that might be important for our understanding of morphological evolution. Asexual females produce wingless daughters in response to their environment. We think sexual males evolved a similar wingless phenotype using part of the same genetic pathway, but without input from the environment. Determining how this may have happened has important implications for our understanding of the origins of novel phenotypes and morphological diversity. 

What was it that originally sparked your interest in biology? 

I think at first, I was fascinated with plants. They maintain totipotent stem cells throughout their life, and you can make a new plant with a small piece of an old plant, or sometimes even from a single isolated cell. This led to an interest in developmental biology, which then shifted to insect evo-devo in my PhD, and now here we are. 

What do you enjoy most about working here at the U of R?

I really enjoy the welcoming and friendly atmosphere, I think we have a really great culture here in the biology department.

How do you think our biology department stands out in comparison to other universities?

Again, I think the genuine sense of community here is pretty unique and really makes our department stand out compared to a lot of other universities.

How do you unwind when you’re not in the lab?

I like spending time with my wife and two young boys, either hiking or going to various festivals or events around Rochester, or just going to the YMCA.