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Pieris rapae illustration - Michelle Leveille

Morehouse Lab is recruiting new PhD students for fall 2018

By | Color, Courtship, Jumping Spiders, News, Outreach, Physiology, Reproductive Co-Evolution, Sexual Conflict, Sexual Selection, Vision | No Comments

The Morehouse Lab at the University of Cincinnati is seeking highly motivated PhD students to join our vibrant research team. Current research foci in the lab include the co-evolution of color vision and color signaling in jumping spiders, the influence of female gaze on the evolution of complex courtship displays (also in jumping spiders), and co-evolution between male and female reproductive proteins in butterflies. I am particularly motivated to recruit students interested in this latter research topic, given the current balance of interests and expertise in the lab, but am also open to applications from students more attracted to our research on jumping spiders.

In addition to these new research initiatives, we have a number of other research projects that could provide opportunities for incoming students. I am slowly adding more information about these in the Projects area of the website.

Students interested in joining the lab should contact me as soon as possible to discuss their interests and fit for the lab. Please include a brief statement of your research interests, how they connect with our current research, and your CV, academic transcripts, and GRE scores if available. Research support in the form of a one-year research assistantship is available for highly qualified applicants.

The University of Cincinnati is emerging as an international center of excellence in sensory biology and ecology. With a strong and growing faculty concentration in Sensory Biology, Behavior, and Evolution, UC provides a vibrant intellectual environment for research and student training. Matching research strengths in sensing and sensor technologies in UC’s nationally-renowned College of Engineering offer a number of cross-disciplinary training opportunities. Our Department of Psychology is home to the Center for Cognition, Action, and Perception, which adds research dimensions in cognitive science and ecological psychology. In addition, Sensorium, a regional consortium of sensory biologists and ecologists established this fall through efforts of members of our SBBE group, offers additional connections to regional labs, including research groups at Purdue and Case Western.

The Department of Biological Sciences offers competitive support packages for qualified students. The University of Cincinnati and the Department of Biological Sciences have a strong commitment to diversity in science and graduate education. Students from underrepresented ethnic or racial minorities will be considered for the new Provost Graduate Fellowship, which provides a 3-year $25,000 stipend plus tuition remission, and the Yates Fellowship, which awards grants to underrepresented minority candidates.

The University of Cincinnati is a top-25 public ‘research-intensive’ institution and is ranked among the nation’s best institutions for undergraduate education. Founded in 1819, our campus boasts award winning, modern architecture and is located in close vicinity to collaborative resources including the UC Medical campus, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Cincinnati is a vibrant city on the banks of the Ohio River. The region is home to year-round cultural and entertainment opportunities such as the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, as well as numerous annual music and cultural festivals. Cincinnati is also home to major professional sports teams including the Cincinnati Bengals, Cincinnati Reds, and FC Cincinnati – a new professional soccer team which draws over 20,000 fans per game. The city is located within the Hamilton County Parks system which provides extensive green space and opportunities for outdoor activities.

More information about the graduate program in the Department of Biological Sciences can be found here.

Graduate applications are due January 1. More information and to apply, please go here.

Illustration of Pieris rapae (above) by Michelle Leveille.

Habronattus americanus

Morehouse Lab is recruiting 2 PhD students and 1 postdoc

By | Color, Jumping Spiders, News, Outreach, Vision | No Comments

The Morehouse Lab is recruiting two PhD students and one postdoc to join the lab in the summer or fall of 2017. I am particularly interested in recruiting new students to join our research on jumping spider color vision and coloration.

One of the PhD positions is NSF-funded through a grant to investigate the role of female visual attention/gaze in driving the evolution of complex male displays in the North American genus Habronattus (including H. americanus pictured above). This research project combines intensive field work with lab-based video characterization of male displays and eye-tracking of female gaze responses to video playback of displaying males (in collaboration with Beth Jakob at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst). I have two full years of doctoral student support remaining on this grant to offer an incoming student who would like to join that project, beginning as early as May 1, 2017.

The postdoctoral position and the second doctoral position will support a new research initiative in my group to understand the repeated evolution of color vision across jumping spiders. Thus far, we have identified two independent and functionally distinct transitions from dichromacy to tri-/tetrachromacy in jumping spiders, which are, not surprisingly, tightly associated with rapid diversification of male color ornamentation.  We are now interested in identifying any additional evolutionary transitions in color vision, characterizing when and why they occurred, and investigating their “downstream” consequences for biodiversity in this group of animals. This work will leverage international field work with molecular, microspectrophotometric, and hyperspectral imaging approaches.

Of course, in addition to these new research initiatives, we have a number of other research projects that could provide opportunities for incoming students. I am slowly adding more information about these in the Projects area of the website.

Students interested in joining the lab should contact me as soon as possible to discuss their interests and fit for the lab. Graduate applications are due January 1, 2017, and I will begin actively recruiting for the postdoc position mid-spring. More information on the graduate program at the University of Cincinnati and associated application materials can be found here.

Photo of Habronattus americanus (above) by Thomas Shahan.

University of Cincinati

Morehouse Lab is moving to Cincinnati!

By | News | No Comments

The Morehouse Lab is excited to join the University of Cincinnati’s Department of Biological Sciences in January 2017! We will be joining the department’s faculty concentration in Sensory Biology, Behavior, and Evolution. This strong and growing research community is rapidly becoming a center of excellence on sensory biology. The SBBE research focus is reflected not just at the graduate level, but also in undergraduate training, supported in part by the department’s NSF-funded REU program in Sensory Ecology. Plans are afoot for the development of a regional consortium of sensory biologists, including researchers at Purdue and Case Western. Matching research strengths in sensing and sensor technologies in UC’s nationally-renowned College of Engineering have resulted in a number of cross-disciplinary training initiatives and collaborations which we hope to contribute to in the coming years. In addition, UC’s strengths in design and the fine and performing arts will provide exciting opportunities to expand the Morehouse Lab’s ongoing involvement in art-science collaborations through connections to the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (ranked 3rd internationally) and the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music (ranked 6th nationally).

If you’re looking to pursue a graduate degree or to continue your training as a postdoc, please consider joining us in Cincinnati in 2017!

Image of the University of Cincinnati’s architecturally stunning campus by Ofer Wolberger (NYT).

Pieris rapae gynandromorph - false color

Musical collaboration with CMU School of Music and Jennie Dorris

By | Color, Jumping Spiders, Music, News, Outreach, Sexual Conflict, Sexual Selection, Vision | No Comments

Spring Showcase: Evolution

The CMU Music Preparatory School invites you to our Spring Showcase, featuring performances by our Creative Expression classes, our Percussion Ensemble, select soloists, and our Young Artist Orchestra.

Evolution comes to life with student-composed pieces in collaboration with the Morehouse Lab and Jennie Dorris, as well as performances of Saint-Saëns, Rimsky-Korsakov, Williams, Mozart, and Barton.

Friday April 29th
7:30 p.m.
Kresge Theatre, in the College of Fine Arts
(To find Kresge Theatre, enter the College of Fine Arts building from the west (main) entrance closest to the College of Fine Arts Lawn. )
Map
Reception in the lobby to follow.

Habronattus coecatus - no watermark (Colin Hutton)

Grad student Sebastian Echeverri’s research featured by Phipps Conservatory

By | Color, Jumping Spiders, News, Outreach, Vision | No Comments

Phipps Conservatory will be featuring Sebastian Echeverri’s research this coming Saturday (October 17th, 1:30-2:30 pm) as part of their “Meet a Scientist” program. If you’re in the area, you should stop by to hear Sebastian talk about the ways that animals see the world differently than we do. Sebastian was also interviewed for the Phipps blog.

Photo of Habronattus coecatus (above) by Colin Hutton.

Pieris Cartoon - Journal of Experimental Biology (April 2015)

Melissa’s latest paper featured in Inside JEB, Discover Magazine.

By | Courtship, News, Physiology, Reproductive Co-Evolution, Sexual Conflict, Sexual Selection | No Comments

Melissa’s paper on proteolytic digestion in the bursa copulatrix is finally out in the Journal of Experimental Biology, and was even featured with a write-up and a cartoon in the journal’s “Inside JEB” section. Other news outlets picked up the story, including Discover Magazine, Mental Floss, and the sex blog Throb. Nice work, Melissa and team!