MK Lab
  

 
 
 
 
   
PEOPLE
 
 
LAB ALUMNI
 
UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCHERS
   

Jessica Carolina Cruz Arrioja

Project: The role of visual stimula & social interactions in brain plasticity of eusocial wasps

I was born in Anzoategui, Venezuela and relocated to Saudia Arabia when I was 14 years old. I then went to boarding school in Switzerland for 3 years and have lived in Miami for 4 years now. I am a senior at the University of Miami majoring in Biology and Minoring in Chemistry. I work with Dr. Mora-Kepfer Uy to explore the influence of visual stimuli and social interactions on differential brain investment in colonies of eusocial wasps.

Jessica is currently pursuing a M.S. in Restoration Ecology in Madrid, Spain.

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Stephen Cutie

Project: Population genetics of insular wasps

I have worked in a genomics and a microbiology lab in the past at Miami-Dade College and Barry University, respectively. I worked in the lab of Drs. Al and Floria Uy at UM, studying the population genetics of social wasps across the Solomon Islands. My long-term goal is to perform research and investigate tissue regeneration and macrophages.

Stephen is now working on his PhD in the UC Berkeley/UC San Francisco Graduate Program in Bioengineering.

   
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Christine DeSilva Project: Population genetics of insular wasps & Movement and distribution of kleptoparasitic spiders
Christine

I graduated from UM majoring in Biology and minoring in Marine Science and Photography. I continue to be involved in the lab through research and leading the social media initiative in the Trop Bio Lab. In 2012, I worked in Dr. Stephan Zuchner’s lab at the Miller School of Medicine studying Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease. Ever since I was little, I have had a connection with the natural world and have wanted to study it. During the summer of 2013 I took the Solomon Islands Field Course led by Drs. Al & Floria Uy. There, I learned a lot about field biology and island ecology. As a result of this experience, now I am studying population genetics of social wasps and s movement of kleptoparasitic spiders of the Solomon Islands. In the future I hope to be able to meld my two strongest passions, photography and science, together in order to educate the public.

Christine has graduated from UM, but continues to be involved in the lab with her project on spiders and leading the social media initiative in the Trop Bio Lab.

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Daniel Franco

Project: Population genetics of insular wasps

Born and raised in Miami, Florida; I received my B.S. in Biology from the University of Miami. My first experience with field biology came through Drs. Al and Floria Uy’s field course in the Solomon Islands. It was such an amazing experience that I knew I had to join their lab to work on some of the field data collected from that trip. I assist Dr. Mora-Kepfer in our study exploring the population genetics of social wasps from the Solomon Islands. Currently I am continuing my research in the lab and will be attending UM's Miller Medical School in Fall 2016.

Daniel is currently in med school at UM's Miller School of Medicine

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Sterling Jeffries Project: Plasticity in group formation and behavior in colonial spiders
Jeffires

    I was born in Naples, Florida but lived on Providenciales in the Turks & Caicos Islands until I was 6 years old. I have lived in Miramar, Florida since then. I am a sophomore Biology major. I have just started working a research project with Dr. Mora-Kepfer Uy on behavior and group composition in the spider Cyrtophora citricola. Science is of great interest to me and I have always been one fascinated with nature. I am an Eagle Scout and have partaken in hiking and observing nature. I am excited to be working in the lab so I can gain a greater understanding for nature and answer many of the questions I have about it.​

Sterling is an alumnus of our field course in the Solomon Islands (2015).

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Benjamin Langer

Project: Nestmate Recognition and Helping Hehavior in Tropical Weaver Ants

I was born in Detroit and moved to the western suburbs of Chicago when I decided I needed to go somewhere warm for school. I am currently a senior studying Biochemistry in hopes of attending medical school next year. In the Uy lab, I am currently studying aggressive interactions in a species of tropical weaver ant, Oecophylla smaragdina, from the Solomon Islands. I am studying whether the factor of relatedness plays into aggressive interactions among colonies. 

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Natascha Zorrilla Project: The role of visual stimula & social interactions in brain plasticity of eusocial wasps
Natasha

I was born in Caracas, Venezuela and have lived in Florida, for 14 years now. I am a senior at the University of Miami. My major is biology, and I have a triple minor in Math, Chemistry, and Computer Science. I work in two projects with Dr. Mora-Kepfer Uy. 1) We are exploring the influence of complex visual stimuli and social interactions on differential brain investment in colonies of the primitively eusocial wasp Mischocyttarus mexicanus and 2) studying the population genetics of social wasps throughout the Solomon Islands.

Natasha is currently pursuing a MS degree in Public Health at the Sufflolk University.

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