Anne Leonard

We study plant-pollinator interactions from nutritional and cognitive perspectives. We are interested in understanding how bees evaluate, learn about, and remember flowers. Likewise, we are interested in how the nutritional value of the nectar and pollen plants offer bees structures interactions with pollinators and co-flowering members of plant communities. An interest in understanding how human activities can perturb these interactions drives a parallel line of research, on how sublethal exposure to pesticides can affect bee behavior, sensory systems, and health. We address these questions using a combination of lab-based and field studies, often on bumblebees, at Sierra Nevada and Great Basin field sites.

Chad Cross

Dr. Cross is trained as a multidisciplinary scientist. He received is PhD in Ecological Sciences (focus in Quantitative Ecology and Statistics) from Old Dominion University in Norfolk Virginia. He additionally holds several master’s degrees: Computational & Applied Mathematics/Statistics (Old Dominion University), Medical Entomology & Nematology (University of Florida), and Counseling (University of Nevada, Las Vegas). His undergraduate training was at Purdue University, where he earned two bachelor’s degrees, one in biological sciences and the other in wildlife science. Dr. Cross has several active areas of research. These include: (1) Public Health: Investigations in population health related to chronic and infectious diseases, with special emphasis on quantitative methodology and use of large databases; (2) Epidemiology & Biostatistics: Applications of statistics and epidemiological principles to problems in the health sciences – for example clinical trials, multivariate models, and population sampling strategies; (3) Medical Entomology & Parasitology: Applied research and field work in arthropod-borne and parasitic diseases, including population-based estimation of disease burden and the intersection of medical entomology and forensic science; (4) Quantitative Ecology: Applications of statistics to problems in the environmental and ecological sciences – for example Bayesian models for estimating avian fatality around wind turbines and mark-recapture sampling; and (5) Psychometrics: Applications of statistics to problems in the psychological sciences – for example randomized controlled trials for interventions and pattern recognition for finding clusters of patients with shared pathology.

Monika Gulia-Nuss

The long-term interest of my research program is to understand the biology of disease vectors to identify novel strategies for vector control and pathogen transmission. My lab focuses on two arthropod vectors of human diseases: mosquitoes and ticks. Our research spans multiple disciplines, including ecology, biochemistry and physiology, genetics, genomics, and computational biology, to investigate questions related to arthropod biology. We employ techniques that encompass molecular, cellular, and organismal levels of studies. Since setting up my lab at UNR in 2016, the most significant research contributions of my program have been 1) pioneering an embryo injection protocol for ticks, 2) the first successful use of CRISPR/Cas9-based genome editing in ticks, 3) producing the first chromosome-level genome assembly for a tick species, and 4) adapting and optimizing a RADseq protocol (Rapture) for genome-wide markers to understand population genetic structure of mosquitoes and ticks. In addition, we have recently initiated a project for the identification of biomarkers for early diagnostics of Lyme disease.

Donald Price

A major theme in my research is to understand how species adapt to diverse environmental and biological factors and diverge into new species. The evolutionary changes that permit species to survive and reproduce across a wide range of environments has resulted in a remarkable range of biological complexity.

My research group studies the interplay of behavior, ecology, genetics, and physiology to determine how species adapt to environmental changes and how diversification of populations leads eventually to the formation of new species. One focus of my group is the amazing Hawaiian Drosophila, which boasts up to 1,000 species in several taxonomic groups. Using genome sequencing and gene expression analyses coupled with detailed behavioral and physiological measurements we have identified genes that are involved in temperature adaptation between two species and between two populations within one species along an environmental gradient. We have also identified genes and epicuticular hydrocarbons that are involved in behavioral reproductive isolation and hybrid sterility between species. Initial studies have begun on the interaction with microbes, (bacteria and yeasts) that are important for food, internal parasites/symbionts, and possibly host-plant associations. In collaboration with others, we are also investigating the genetics of Hawaiian bats and birds, Drosophila melanogaster, the invasive Drosophila suzukii, and Hawaiian Metrosideros trees.