Prof. Michal Polak, Principal Investigator

I received my PhD in 1996 from Arizona State University with John Alcock and Therese Markow. Following a 3-year post-doc at Syracuse University with William Starmer and Larry Wolf, I joined the faculty at UC in 1999.

I pursue research at the interface of genetics, ecology and evolution. I served as Graduate Director in the department from 2009 to 2014, and was elected to the Fellows of the Graduate School at UC in 2013. I teach courses in the areas of Evolution and Animal Behavior, and serve as Editor for the journal Animal Behaviour.

Dr. Joy Bose, Post-doctoral Scientist

I joined the Benoit/Polak NSF-funded project on costs of parasite resistance in late fall 2017. My field of research is host-parasite biology, and at the University of Cincinnati I am working on the genetic and physiological bases of behavioral forms of ectoparasite resistance and of associated trade-offs in 2 experimentally tractable model systems. I received my PhD with Dr. Rebecca Schulte at the University of Osnabreuck, Germany. My doctoral research focused on host-parasite co-evolution using Caenorhabditis elegans and the bacterial parasite, Bacillus thuringiensis. I am pursuing an academic career in research and teaching.

Bidisha Paul, Graduate Student

I am passionate about the study of insects and about research at the interface of ecology and evolution. I earned my Bachelor's degree from Bidhan Chandra Krishi Viswavidyalaya University (BCKV), Mohanpu, West Bengal, in 2015. Currently I am completing my MS degree in Agricultural Entomology at BCKV, through which I am continuing to develop in-depth training in insect science. In 2017, I gained further valuable experience at the University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK, where I completed a part of my MS research as an exchange student. I will be joining the Polak lab in summer 2018. I am pursuing an academic career, and my doctoral research will address essential questions in host-parasite evolutionary biology and sexual selection using insects as my focal study group.

Parker Young, Graduate Student

I received my bachelor's degree from UC, and have a keen interest in ecology, evolution and animal biology.  I am a first-year graduate student, developing a project in the area of host-parasite biology. My focus will be resolving the behavioral mechanisms of defense against ectoparasitism, and their genetic underpinnings. My research proposal is taking shape quickly: my plan is to test for genetic costs of parasite resistance against the backdrop of host nutritional geometry. Stay tuned for the initial results as they start coming in...

Margot Meredith, Undergraduate Researcher

My major is biochemistry, and in addition to focusing on completing coursework in biology and chemistry, I am a full-time summer researcher, and will continue working in the lab throughout the year. My research focuses on the effect of male diet in fruit flies on the fate of the fertilized egg. I am developing skills in reproductive physiology and next-gen sequencing, and applying them to define the proximate bases of how paternal (sire) diet affects embryonic mortality rate. My future career goals include research and medicine.