Lab Members

Brian R. Johnson – PI

I am broadly interested in Animal Behavior, Evolution, Theoretical Biology, and Genomics. To date, my research has used a combination of experiments, simulation models, and computational biology to explore the evolution of advanced sociality, mechanisms of social organization, and self-organization. Chief amongst my results are that novel genes (orphans) are important for eusocial evolution and task allocation can work via a self organizing coupled localization diffusion process. I have also shown that colony fitness is often maximized when selection couples self-organization with other mechanisms, such as templates and recipes. In addition, I have written forward thinking conceptual syntheses on the evolution of the superorganism phenotype and division of labor. These syntheses present integrative biology perspectives on eusocial evolution and propose novel hypotheses, which I plan to make the subject of my future work.

I have also recently begun long term research on the honey bee immune system and the causes and consequences of economically important diseases / syndromes such as CCD.

Graduate Students

Abbas Mohamed

abbas

Abbas is a Graduate Student Researcher in the Johnson lab, and a graduate student in the Pharmacology and Toxicology group. He has been interested about bees and has been actively learning about them since 2011. He is currently focusing on pesticide detoxification as a part of his Master’s research. His other interests vary from performing spoken word, to creating culinary delights, to environmental activism. 

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Wei Lin

WeiI am a PhD student in the Entomology Department. I am interested in social insect behavior, the genetic mechanisms underlying it, and cutting edge bioinformatics techniques. I am currently researching the diversity of plant cell wall degrading enzymes (PCWDEs) expressed in different herbivorous insects and will begin my work with honey bees this spring.

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Ralph Washington (co-advised with Steve Nadler)

Entomologist and Phd Candidate, Ralph Washington photographed at the Bohart Museum of Entomology. Washington's research focuses on moquitoes.

Entomologist and Phd Candidate, Ralph Washington photographed at the Bohart Museum of Entomology. Washington’s research focuses on moquitoes.rwashington@ucdavis.edu

Entomology, Ph.D., expected 2019

I believe that terrestrial life is one of the most amazing things to happen in the history of the universe. To fully appreciate that fact, one must study biodiversity. Entomology is one of the best ways to do so.

I am an enthusiastic student of all aspects of insect biology, but I have a particular academic interest in insect behavior and evolutionary biology. My dissertation project is related to both disciplines – it is an investigation of how certain life-history traits influence speciation. In the Atlantic Coastal Rainforest of Brazil, I will be studying mosquitoes in the genus Wyeomyia, which often lay their eggs in water held by plants in the genus Heliconia. Heliconia spp. vary in important cues that affect oviposition-site selection in mosquitoes: container morphology, geographic location, and concentration of dissolved organic matter. By studying the association between these two taxa, I wish to answer three main questions:

1) How has variation in oviposition-site selection changed over evolutionary time within Wyeomyia?

2) What degree of inter- and intraspecific variation in oviposition-site selection is found among species?

3) What environmental cues do Wyeomyia utilize when selecting an oviposition-site?

My hobbies include scientific outreach, tabletop pen-and-paper roleplaying games, and reading books on myriad topics.

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Undergraduates

Stephanie Wu
Stephanie

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Shreyas Bharadwaj

Shreyas

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Past Members

Postdocs

Joel 2

Joel Atallah

My research focuses on integrative studies of complex systems from the perspectives of cell, evolutionary and developmental biology. I have analyzed the development of the Drosophila sex comb, a strikingly diverse sexually dimorphic structure, showing how different cellular processes can lead to similar adult phenotypes in multiple lineages. I am currently working on a number of projects that use transcriptional profiling in the analysis of biological structures. One of projects focuses on the evolution of enlarged, serrrated ovipositors in Drosophila suzukii, a destructive pest that can bore into ripening fruit, while another looks at the venom gland of the honeybee sting, itself a modified ovipositor.

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Graduate Students

JJ PhotoGerard Smith (M.S. 2015): My research interests are in honey bee biology, behavior and health, especially in an agricultural setting.

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Visiting Scientists

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Roger Nicolas Beelen
Universidade Federal de Alagoas – UFAL
Centro de Ciências Agrárias – CECA
Curso de Zootecnia – Maceió
BR 104 Norte, Km 85 – Campus Delza Gitaí
Rio Largo – AL 57100-00,
Brazil