Attention, Behavior, Learning, & Emotions

The purpose of the study is to investigate whether social-emotional cues influence attention and behavioral control in young adults with or without ADHD. Participants will complete four behavioral tasks intended to gauge social-emotional processing, attention, and behavior. Participants will also be asked to fill out a series of questionnaires on their general behavior and emotions.

Students will be asked to assist in the programming of project tasks, data collection, as well as the organization and processing of data.

Vocal communication & song learning in birds

In the Podos Lab, we study a variety of questions related to vocal communication and singing behavior in songbirds. Right now, we're working with swamp sparrows in the lab to explore the process of song learning in males (those who sing to attract mates) and song preference development in females (those who assess songs when choosing a mate). These birds were collected last summer from local field sites, and have been raised in captivity over the past months.

Genetic diversity in a parasitic plant

The parasitic plant, dodder (Cuscuta sp.), is a problematic agricultural weed in cranberries in eastern Massachusetts. Dodder does not photosynthesize and produces no leaves, but instead derives its nutrients from host plants. With researchers at the UMass Cranberry Station, we are interested in determining the population structure of dodder species that attack cranberries. The student involved with this project will establish growth protocols for dodder in the lab, and experiment with suitable methods to extract DNA of sufficient quality for next-generation sequencing methods.

Bird TV? Behavioral Analysis of Nesting Songbirds from NestCam Footage

Research in the Warren lab focuses on the impacts of urbanization on wildlife. Suburban development changes habitat structure, influences resource availability, and affects wildlife behavior. As food availability in a habitat changes, animals must make foraging decisions to optimize the use of their time and energy while still avoiding predator detection.

The genetics of alkaloid production in tomatoes

A for-credit position is available at Caicedo Lab, Biology Department.

Traits such as bitterness are linked to alkaloids in tomatoes. Through their anti-herbivory properties, some alkaloids are thought to increase resistance in tomatoes against pests. However, little is known about the genetic basis of alkaloid production in tomatoes. Thus, this project aims at finding the genetic basis of alkaloid production and changes in alkaloid content during domestication.

Global Invaders Project

Invasive species reduce biodiversity and are considered a major threat to ecosystems worldwide. Despite general knowledge of their widespread impacts, we still lack a consistent list of which species are invasive, where they have been studied, and what sorts of specific impacts have been identified. This information is critical for understanding the conditions that lead to invasion and informing effective monitoring and management.

Circadian rhythms and estrous cycles

A master circadian pacemaker in the hypothalamus controls not only rhythms of sleep and wakefulness but also neuroendocrine functions including the estrous cycle in mice and hamsters. By studying mutants and conditional knockouts, we examine the roles of specific genes and their protein products in the brain circuitry that generates the preovulatory surge of luteininzing hormone (LH) from the anterior pituitary. Projects require handling of animals in order to track estrous cycles, ovariectomy, hormone assays, PCR genotyping, and immunostaining (with quantitative neuroanatomical analyses).


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