Joseph Antwi

Joseph Antwi (aka Joe) is a first-year master’s student at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville where he studies biological sciences under the mentorship of Dr. Brittany F. Peterson. His general interest is in insect-microbe systems as a means to biologically control insects that are vectors for disease transmission. Coming from West Africa where malaria still kills thousands annually, Joe is seeking to garner enough knowledge in insect-microbe interactions to serve as a foundation to do research that aims to use microbes to biologically control the female anopheles mosquito which is the main culprit in the transmission of the malaria parasite. 

David Bellini

David is a Quantitative and Computational Biosciences Ph.D. student at BCM. His research interests include using the power of computational and data analysis tools to gain a better understanding of the genetic factors behind behavioral plasticity. Having earned a double major in Bioinformatics and Molecular Biology, he strives to understand both dry and wet lab research components. This well-rounded lifestyle also translates into his many hobbies which include tennis, soccer, gaming, piano playing, and participating at his local church. 

Yelyzaveta Bessonova

I go by the name Liza. Originally I am from Ukraine. I came to U.S. in 2016 to get my Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Delaware State University. I chose to come to the U.S. because I was offered a full athletic scholarship and the opportunity to be a part of my school’s women tennis team. I started engaging in research after the first semester of college. Prior to getting in the graduate program of the University of Washington in St. Louis, I worked in Dr. Raman’s lab as a technician for one year.

Christopher Brennan

Chris Brennan is a Ph.D. student in the EEB program at Texas A&M University. He grew up in Australia but did his undergraduate in psychology and sociology at the University of North Texas. It was there, through various research projects, that he found his passion for entomology. In his spare time he likes to hike, read, and listen to music.

Alyssa Canova

Alyssa Canova is a first-year Ph.D. student in the Entomology Program at Texas A&M University. She obtained her B.S. in Biology at the University of California Riverside, where she performed lab and field-based research on social Hymenoptera. As part of the BPRI program, she will work with Dr. Hojun Song to examine tissue-specific transcriptomes during phase change as well as uncover the phylogenetic framework of phenotypic plasticity. Her research will focus primarily on Schistocerca piceifrons and Schistocerca serialis cubense.

Serena Farrell

Serena Farrell is beginning her first year as a doctoral student at Texas A&M University in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology doctoral program. Her interests lie in entomology; how insects interact with their external environment, and how this can affect their internal environment. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in biology from Cal State San Marcos.

Neema John

Neema is a Ph.D. student in the Environmental Life Sciences program at Arizona State University and is originally from Tanzania. She is interested in understanding how migration affects micronutrient selection in gregarious marching and non marching locusts. Neema is passionate about integrating her field experience with lab research to contribute to the advancement of sustainable locusts’ management to improve food security and nutrition as well as the incomes of rural communities.

Jiayi Luo

Jiayi Luo is a second-year graduate student in Zong Lab at Baylor College of Medicine. Jiayi got her B.S. in Biochemistry at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. After graduation, she explored a few career options and realized that scientific research is where her passion lies. Jiayi’s current research focuses on capturing transcriptomic and genomic changes using single-cell sequencing methods. Jiayi spends her spare time reading and playing the piano.

Audélia Mechti

Hey there! My name is Audélia, I come from Switzerland where I graduated with a master thesis and a high school teaching diploma. This fall I started my Ph.D. in Prof. Sword’s lab. I will be focusing on the genetic basis of individual behavioral plasticity as well as collective mass movement in locusts.

Sidney Millerwise

Sydney Millerwise is an Environmental Life Sciences Ph.D. student at Arizona State University. Her interest in locust research began as an undergrad where she worked in Dr. Arianne Cease’s lab studying the nutritional physiology of different locust species. Her research examines how nutrition affects critical life history traits like aging and reproduction in locust species. When she is not working in the lab, she can be found hiking, camping, and admiring the rich biodiversity of Arizona.

Soumi Mitra

Soumi Mitra completed her Ph.D. at New Mexico State University in 2022. Her Ph.D. dissertation was focused on studying mosquito olfaction and the behavior of mosquitoes in response to botanical compounds. Her goal is to be in academia and continue doing research in the lab while educating the youth.

Muchun Niu

As a graduate student in Dr. Chuck Zong’s Lab at Baylor College of Medicine, Muchun Niu focuses on single cell technology development. He is interested to apply novel high-throughput single cell transcriptome assays to investigate the locust phase polyphenism.

Vivian Peralta Santana

My name is Vivian, and I am a first year Ph.D. student in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Program at Texas A&M. I am under the mentorship and guidance of Dr. Song. I received my B.A. in Biology at Rutgers University-Newark. I grew up in the Dominican Republic and I have loved insects ever since I was small. It was not until my undergraduate years that I discovered my passion for evolutionary biology. In my free time I like reading and learning about other sciences and organisms that pique my interest, I also love drawing.

Gil Shaulsky

Gil Shaulsky is a Ph.D. student in the Gabbiani Lab at Baylor College of Medicine, where he studies the neuronal processing involved in vision. He graduated from UC Berkeley with a B.S. in Chemistry before working on glutamate receptor pharmacology in the Traynelis Lab at Emory University. Currently, he is recording in-vivo neural responses to visual stimuli in Schistocerca americana., but he hopes to add other species and expand the analysis to behavior. When not in the lab, he can be found daydreaming in his garden or taking blurry pictures of Houston’s fauna.

Mehreen Tahir

Mehreen is a Ph.D. student in the Environmental Life Science program at Arizona State University. She is an international student from Pakistan. While growing up, she experienced the suffering imparted by locust outbreaks in her village in Pakistan, inspiring her to study locusts. She came to the U.S. to pursue her dream of college education. She completed a B.S. in Biochemistry with major honors from Indiana University. She is driven to address the problem of food scarcity caused due to locust outbreaks in Pakistan and around the world!

Maéva Techer

Maéva Techer joined the BPRI as a Postdoctoral Researcher and is currently based in the Entomology department of Texas A&M. She completed a Ph.D. in Population Genetics at the University of Reunion Island where she grew up. She studied genomics during her postdoc at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology in Japan. Her research seeks to understand how species and populations rapidly respond and adapt to environmental changes by generating and maintaining phenotypic plasticity and genetic diversity.