MK Lab
  

 
 
 
 
   
PEOPLE
 
 
PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR
 
Floria Mora-Kepfer Uy
I was born in San José, Costa Rica where I obtained a B.S. and M.Sc. in Biology, focusing on host choice and handling behavior in parasitoid wasps. I then relocated to the US to complete my doctoral studies on the evolution of animal societies and social behavior at the University of Miami. For my doctoral research, I explored grouping behavior and reproduction, social interactions, and brain plasticity in primitively eusocial wasps native to South Florida. After completing my PhD, I took a position as a Lecturer in the Department of Biology at UM then recently transitioned as a Research Assistant Professor. My students and I work on the relationship between brain and social behavior.
 
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GRADUATE STUDENTS
 
Erika Bueno 2016 - current
Bueno I was born in Lima, Peru and grew up in San Francisco, CA where I attended San Francisco State University (SFSU), and earned a B.S. in Zoology. I’m currently finishing my M.S. in Ecology and Evolution at SFSU where I’m examining the physiological basis for nocturnal abandonment in honey bees parasitized by the a parasitic fly, specifically on circadian rhythm disruption as a possible driver for nocturnal abandonment in parasitized bees. Understanding how parasitic organisms affect the behavior of honey bees will provide insights for maintaining the health of honey bee populations. I joined Dr. Mora-Kepfer Uy's Lab at the University of Miami in Fall 2016 where I will work towards a PhD in Biology, focusing in the evolution of cooperation systems in social insects. My ultimate goal is to become an academic professor in order to teach and mentor students of diverse backgrounds..  
 
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Krystle Young 2016-current
Young I’ve lived in Hollywood, Florida all my life and am a member of the Seminole Tribe of Florida. I’m a University of Miami alumnus and graduated with an English degree in 2014, and I also have background in science from my undergraduate training. I began working with Dr. Mora-Kepfer Uy in August 2016 towards a Master’s of Science degree in Biology. My interest is in applied entomology and my ultimate goal is to teach biology to high school students in my tribe and hopefully create young scientists.  
 
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UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCHERS
   
Jack Adcock Project: Nestmate Recognition and Helping Hehavior in Tropical Weaver Ants
Jac I was born in Chicago and have lived in the western suburbs my entire life.  I'm currently a freshman Biology major at the University of Miami.  After speaking with Dr. Mora-Kepfer Uy during a lecture I became involved in the lab.  I'm currently working on determining the factors that influence recognition and helping behavior in the a species of tropical weaver ant, Oecophylla smaragdina, from the Solomon Islands.  In the future, I would like to continue doing research in Biology and gain more field research experience.  
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Krisha Patel Project: Plasticity in brain and group formation in social insects & Color change as an antipredation mechanism in tropical crabs

I am a senior majoring in Biology at the University of Miami. Working in the Uy lab I have analyzed wasp behaviors and worked on virtually reconstructing wasp brains. I spent a semester in Ecuador, including 3 months in the Galapagos archipelago, where I had the opportunity to observe the wildlife we learned about in the classroom. I went abroad again to conduct research with Floria in the Solomon Islands, funded by the Beyond the Book Scholarship. In the Solomon Islands, I studied ghost crabs to investigate their ability to change color to match the substrate in which they forage in, as an antipredation mechanism. After graduating I hope to continue to veterinary school.

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Suvetha Ravichandran Project: Color change as an antipredation mechanism in tropical crabs

I was born in Tamil Nadu, India and grew up for the majority of my life in Tampa. I am currently a senior finishing with a B.S. in Anthropology on the medical track. In January I join the Ethiopian Health Service of the Peace Corps. During the summer of 2015 I went to the Solomon Islands with the dynamic Dr. Uys. While there for the field course in evolutionary biology and ecology we studied the behavior of ghost crabs. Specifically, I compared the pigment of their carapace to their background choice, as a crypsis mechanism. Upon our return, I have been analyzing the data in the lab and we plan to publish these results this Fall of 2016.

   
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POST-BAC RESEARCHER  
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Kristine Gandia

Project: Effect of parasitoids on host brain structure (collaboration with University of Florence)

As a Miami native, I have lived here my entire life and attended Miami Dade Honors College and transferred to the University of Miami where I obtained my B.S. in Biology. I am currently working on a project examining whether there are morphological differences in the brains of parasitized and unparasitized social wasps. In the future I plan to attend graduate school in animal behavior and evolution. My ultimate goal is to conduct research in animal behavior and evolution, and be a professor. 

   
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LAB ALUMNI