MK Lab
Science + insect superheroes = Uy lab 2017 [from left to right: Kristine Gandia, Jamie Brunworth, Jack Adcock, Floria Mora-Kepfer Uy, Ryan O'Neill, Matt Wiefels]
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.

I am also currently serving as the Director of UGalapagos Biology, a semester-long Study Abroad Program in the Galápagos Islands.

Ringo supervises to insure that only high quality work comes out of the lab.
Kristine Gandia Project: Effects of parasitoids on host brain structure (collaboration with University of Florence)
Kristine As a Miami native, I have lived here my entire life, and attended Miami Dade Honors College then transferred to the University of Miami where I obtained my B.S. in Biology. I am currently working on my MS thesis examining whether there are morphological differences in the brains of parasitized and unparasitized social wasps. In the future I plan to attend a PhD program in animal behavior and evolution. My ultimate goal is to conduct research in animal behavior and evolution, and be a professor.  
Jack Adcock Project: Nestmate Recognition & Helping Hehavior in Tropical Weaver Ants

I was born in Chicago and have lived in the western suburbs my entire life.  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.

Jack's research is supported by a Beyond The Book Scholarship from the College of Arts and Sciences. 


Jamie Brunworth

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

I grew up in Littleton, Colorado and now I am a junior majoring in Biology at the University of Miami. I am currently on the pre-med track and also play on the women’s soccer team here at UM. I was looking for research opportunities and Dr. Mora-Kepfer Uy paired me up with Kristine Gandia, and I am currently helping her with her thesis project. We are focusing on the effects of parasitoids in the brains of social wasps. In the future, I would like to attend medical school.

Ryan O'Reilly Project: Differences in diet composition across castes in weaver ants (collaboration with Dr. Leo Sternberg, UM)

I was born and raised in Port Washington, NY out in Long Island. I am currently a senior taking a B.S. in Ecosystem Science and Policy with a minor in Biology. I became involved in Dr. Floria Mora-Kepfer Uy's lab after taking her class in the UGalapagos program, as well as her and Dr. Al Uy's field biology course in the Solomon Islands. I am currently working with Floria on a project examining the differences in diet of tropical weaver ants. To do this, we are examining isotope ratios across different colonies and castes of weaver ants. After graduating, I'm planning to travel across Australia for a year before coming back and starting graduate school. 



Matthew Wiefels Project: Differences in diet composition across castes in weaver ants (collaboration with Dr. Leo Sternberg, UM)

I am a sophomore on the medical track majoring in Biochemistry/Molecular Biology.  The project that I am collaborating on involves using mass spectrometry to analyze the carbon and nitrogen isotope ratios in weaver ants from the Solomon Islands.  Our goal is to learn more about the diets of these ants and how they vary among colonies and different classes within those colonies.