Alzheimer's Disease Mouse Study

We are looking for an undergraduate student with experience working in an animal colony with mice to help us breed and treat mice with compounds made in our lab as part of an Alzheimer's Disease study. Students MUST have prior experience working with mice and be independent and internally motivated. Students lacking prior experience with animal husbandry in rodents should NOT apply. Please apply by directly emailing hardy@chem.umass.edu.

Isotope Probing for Active Soil Microbes

Metabolically active soil microorganisms may cause an increase in respiration in response to climate change. At the Harvard Forest, three long-term soil warming plots were established nearly 25 years ago to determine how forest ecosystems are effected by warming. Researchers are using various approaches to determine which organisms are actively contributing to respiration in the soil. My dissertation research addresses the question of which soil organisms are metabolically active using an isotopic labeling approach.

Ecology and Evolution of Primate Communities

Primates do not live by themselves in the forest. They interact with many other plants and animal species and these interactions can have important effects on primate behavior and ecology. Primate communities consist of all the primate species that interact with each other in a particular study site or area. Data are now available for several hundred primate communities from around the world. These data can be used to examine broad patterns of diversity and to test if these patterns are similar or different across continents.

Evolution of Primate Hair

Humans are unusual primates in many ways, including our hair morphology. Human body hair is very short and less dense than other primates. In addition, many human populations exhibit scalp hair that has very long growth cycles. Other primate species exhibit interesting variation in their hair characteristics, though the reason for this variation is poorly known. Our project will test several hypotheses to explain variation in hair length, width, and density across many primate species.

Armored scale insects: DNA and microscope slide preparation

Our laboratory uses DNA sequences and morphological characters to investigate the diversity, evolution and ecology of armored scale insects (class Insecta: order Hemiptera: family Diaspididae), especially in tropical rainforests. Paid lab assistantships are available for students to prepare DNA and microscope slide mounts from individual armored scale insect specimens. For advanced students, independent research projects are also possible.

Feeding Behavior of Stable Flies

Join a research group that is interested in better understanding the physiology of stable flies, blow flies, house flies and Drosophila. Currently we are investigating various aspects of feeding behavior as it relates to a special organ known as the crop. This organ is essential in controlling short term and long term feeding, as well as helping regulate the fly’s blood sugar levels. Because of this, this organ is especially important in current studies related to human diabetes.

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