I am thrilled to be joining the Keck Science Department at Claremont McKenna, Scripps, and Pitzer Colleges in January 2019 as an Assistant Professor of Biology. I’m currently a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Integrative Biology at the University of Texas at Austin. Take a look around to learn about me and my research, and check back for updates!
July 17, 2018
April 3, 2018
March 28, 2018
I am excited to be speaking at the Spring Symposium in Brain, Behavior and Evolution at UT Austin on April 28th! The theme this year is behavioral epigenetics. Check out The Center for Brain, Behavior, and Evolution website
for more information. Registration is FREE for UT folks!
March 19, 2018
At the 2017 meeting of the Society for Behavioral Neuroendocrinology
, I met with a group of graduate students, postdocs, and faculty at the Workshop for Public Engagement and External Relations. I wrote a letter
summarizing our work and goals for the future. Check it out to learn about the ways SBN scientists already engage with diverse publics and our vision for the role SBN has the power to play in increasing diversity, inclusion, and equity in STEM; building strong connections with local communities; increasing public trust in scientists and enthusiasm for science; and developing and participating in public engagement and science communication training. We look forward to broadening the scope of and participation in public engagement together!
March 14, 2018
My new preprint Early-life social environment alters juvenile behavior and neuroendocrine function in a highly social cichlid fish
is now available on bioRxv! Early-life social environments and experiences shape adult behavior critical for evolutionary fitness and health. We show that rearing juvenile A. burtoni
in different social environments – social groups or pairs – affects behavior across contexts and stress and sex steroid hormone gene expression. By investigating these early-life effects in juveniles, we can identify how developmental plasticity shapes the adult phenotype.
March 13, 2018
March 9, 2018
Thank you to Michele Johnson
and Jimmy Roberts
for inviting me to give a Neuroscience Seminar at Trinity University
! The students asked excellent questions, and it was great meeting faculty and touring the impressive new science building. I look forward to visiting again!
February 19, 2018
Congratulations to undergraduate researcher Lisa Paggeot on being awarded an Undergraduate Research Fellowship today for her project on the behavioral and neurotranscriptomic mechanisms driving social status transitions in Astatotilapia burtoni!
February 5, 2018
The second annual full-day BEACON
Public Engagement Workshop at the University of Texas at Austin was a success! This year, we focused on building a public narrative to connect with your audience, Stephanie Chiarello Noppenberg discussed how to engage effectively with public policy makers, and Rep Donna Howard shared insights about serving in the Texas State House of Representatives. Special thanks to Rep Howard and Stephanie for sharing their experiences and expertise! Check out the workshop resources
and our library guide page
for more information.
November 8, 2017
I’m excited to share that I’ll be speaking at Nerd Nite Austin
again! My talk is titled “Pork barrel science, or what biologists have learned from dressing animals in clothes.” Scientists go to great lengths for their research, but from the outside looking in, that research can appear ridiculous. (Remember the kerfuffle over shrimp treadmills?) But is science that appears wasteful actually a waste? Together, we will explore the world of seemingly-preposterous science by finding out what biologists have learned over the years from dressing animals in clothes. Nerd Nite starts at 8pm at The North Door
. The event is FREE and open to the public. I hope to see you there!
Photo credit: Zoo Portraits
October 2, 2017
August 4, 2017
Thanks again to funding from the BEACON Center for the study of Evolution in Action
, I led two Sandboxes on STEM public engagement with my collaborators Travis Hagey, Alexa Warwick, and Hans Hofmann. Based on requests from our previous workshops, we focused on framing scientific messages to fit the audience and bridging the gap between STEM and public policy. Special thanks to Dr. Judi Brown Clarke (pictured below) for sharing her expert insights on being a scientist and an elected public official! Check out our handout
and other resources
for STEM public engagement.
This summer, I was excited to again host two pairs of middle school girls as a part of the Shadow a Scientist
program at UT Austin. They had the chance to observe cichlids interacting in their home communities, decide how to quantify the behaviors they found interesting, and design a small experiment to find out how juveniles of different sizes interact. Like last year, the girls had an excellent eye for behavior and asked great questions!
Note: Student faces blurred out of respect for privacy
June 13, 2017
At the annual meeting of the Society for Behavioral Neuroendocrinology
, I led the Public Engagement and External Relations Workshop with UCLA graduate student Yesenia Cabrera. Thank you to all of the undergraduate and graduate students, postdocs, and faculty who joined us to share the many ways they engage the public! We also strategized for the future, thinking about how SBN can further support the bold and innovative public engagement goals of its members. Thank you to the SBN organizers for including this productive session.
Innovative science is increasingly interdisciplinary. Pop-Up Institutes
are a novel way to bring researchers from diverse disciplines together for a month of collaboration. I coordinated our Institute Seeing the Tree and the Forest: Understanding Individual and Population Variation in Biology, Medicine, and Society
, which drew interest from researchers in biology, statistics, medicine, nutrition, public health, athletics, classics, anthropology, and more! Check out my BEACON blog posts to learn more about the Pop-Up Institute
and the communication strategies
we used to collaborate across disciplines. Go to our guide page
, curated by Biosciences Librarian Porcia Vaughn
, to learn more and find resources!
April 12, 2017
Undergraduate researchers Hareem Usmani (left) and Becca Butler (right) present their research at the Undergraduate Research Symposium. They did a fantastic job sharing their science! Both Becca and Hareem designed their projects and successfully applied for Undergraduate Research Fellowship funding to support their research. Congratulations!
March 20, 2017
February 20, 2017
February 15, 2017
Check out our new paper “A Role for Oxytocin-Like Receptor in Social Habituation in a Teleost” in Brain, Behavior, and Evolution!
October 30, 2016
August 10, 2016
At the 2016 Congress for the BEACON Center for the study of Evolution in Action
, I led two Sandboxes with my collaborators Drs. Alexa Warwick, Travis Hagey, and Hans Hofmann. We discussed building an evidence-based framework for public engagement within BEACON and provided training for how to build your own public engagement experience. There is clearly strong support for STEM public engagement at BEACON. Thanks to all of our participants for your ideas and enthusiasm!
The Shadow a Scientist
program at UT Austin matches middle school students with a researcher to find out what a scientist really does. I hosted two pairs of middle school girls this summer. They had the chance to observe cichlid social interactions, develop an ethogram for quantifying behavior, and design an experiment to find out how juveniles interact. The girls were keen observers and asked insightful questions!
June 16, 2016
Thank you to the Girls Empowerment Network
for inviting me to be a mentor at speed mentoring! The high school girls at the Pathfinder Leadership Summit asked fantastic questions and have impressive goals for now and their futures.
March 2, 2016
The theme for Nerd Nite Austin
this month is Brain Games! This SXSW Special Edition is being hosted in collaboration with National Geographic, and I’m excited to be one of the presenters! I’ll be exploring the world of animal behavior research to uncover the biological basis of social behavior and its consequences. Come to the North Door
on Sunday March 13th @ 8 pm. The event is FREE.
February 10, 2016
Thanks to Springer Animal Sciences for highlighting my publication, “The effects of previous experience and current condition on status contests in the bluebanded goby (Lythrypnus dalli
)”! See the Facebook highlight here
, and go to my Publications tab to read the article.
July 8, 2015
Take a look at my latest publication, “Agonistic reciprocity is associated with reduced male reproductive success”, in this issue of the Proceedings of the Royal Society B (website
)! I took the picture on the cover of the journal: it shows a male bluebanded goby caring for his eggs!
March 30, 2015
I am The BEACON Center’s featured Researcher at Work, this week! Check out my blog post The Original Social Gaming !
I discuss how I became interested in the biology of social behavior and my doctoral research with the bluebanded goby. The BEACON Center is sponsored by the National Science Foundation and brings together biologists, computer scientists, and engineers to study evolution in action. Learn more about the BECAON Center at their website