Dr. 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.

Lauren Titus, Graduate Student

In 2015 I received my Bachelor's degree from Ohio Northern University.  As an undergraduate I studied the occurrence of avian malaria in the California Tioga. At UC my research has shifted somewhat, although host-parasite biology has remained a core interest.  My area of study is the new field of nutritional immunology, and I am using the Drosophila-Macrocheles system of the Sonoran Desert as a model to examine how animals alter their feeding behavior and consumption of major macro-nutrients in response to parasitic infection. I plan to graduate in fall 2017.

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.

Montana Green, Undergraduate Reasearcher

I am a biology major at UC. Having grown up on a farm I have a passion for working with animals! I've been working in the Polak Lab over summer 2017. I am responsible for maintaining and caring for our fly and mite cultures, some of which can be finicky and all of which have special needs. My future interests involve pursuing graduate school.

Dr. Joy Bose, Post-doctoral Scientist

I will be joining the Benoit/Polak team as a post-doctoral researcher in fall 2017! My field of research is host-parasite biology, and as an NSF-sponsored post-doc at the University of Cincinnati, I will be working on the genetic basis of ectoparasite resistance and of associated trade-offs. 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.

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. Stay tuned for more as I continue to develop my project ....