Dr. Monika Gulia-Nuss

( University of Nevada, Reno )


(775) 682-7333
  • Institution:University of Nevada, Reno
  • Departments: biochemistry and molecular biology
  • Research Fields: Arthropod Physiology, Anti-tick Vaccine, Crispr
  • Disciplines: Animal Genetics, Animal Physiology, Biochemistry, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Bioinformatics, Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Biomedical Sciences, General, Biotechnology, Cell/Cellular and Molecular Biology, Developmental Biology and Embryology, Entomology
  • Locations:Carson City, Clark County
  • Funding:DHHS - Department of Health and Human Services, EPSCoR - Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research, INBRE - IdeA Network for Biomedical Research Excellence, NSF - National Science Foundation, Private Industry, UNR - University of Nevada, Reno, USDA - U.S. Department of Agriculture


I received my education in India from the public school system, where English was introduced as a second language in middle school. While I was fluent in three languages, English was not one of them. After moving to the USA, I took English speaking and writing courses offered by volunteers, and over time I have improved my language fluency. My personal experience as an immigrant has made me aware of the challenges of studying and learning as a non-native speaker of a language. I am also mindful of the stress of living away from the familiar support system. Collectively, these experiences provided me with an appreciation for the struggles of underrepresented groups, both personally and professionally.

My lab group comprises a diverse student body, including national, cultural, ethnic, and gender diversity. Since starting my faculty position at UNR in 2016, I have mentored over 30 undergraduates and 4 MS students, mostly from underrepresented groups. I am mentoring four undergraduates, four graduates (1 MS, 3 Ph.D.), one postdoc, and one research scientist. I am proud that all my current lab members come from underrepresented groups, including first-generation college students, Latinos, Women, Asian-Americans, Asians, and Africans. My lab represents seven countries in the Americas, Asia, and Africa. Additionally, the visiting scientists from different parts of the world and at different career stages (graduate students to full professors) have helped bring diverse expertise and experiences.

Additionally, my lab has hosted four visiting scientists from Australia, Canada, and Egypt/Saudi Arabia, providing rich cultural experiences and a global community within the lab. Promoting diversity goes well beyond improving gender equality and must enable underrepresented minorities. As a faculty mentor of Graduate Women in Science (GWIS), I provide resources, including professional development seminars. I also help identify diverse speakers for career seminars, work/life balance, and special topics like childcare. My commitment to diversity and integration was recognized through the “Patriotic Employer Award and Freedom Award” by a military officer, one of my graduate students, for “helping him balance the Military duties along with the Ph.D. program.”


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.