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.

________________  
   

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.

   
________________  
   
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.

________________  
   

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

________________  
   
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).

________________  
   
Krisha Patel

Project: Plasticity in brain and group formation in social insects & Color change as an antipredation mechanism in tropical crabs

krisha

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.

________________  
   
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.

________________  
   
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.

________________