Luke Awarded Best Poster Presentation at the Nebraska Summer Research Symposium

Luke was awarded Best Poster Presentation for the Systems Biology of Plant and Microbiome REU Program at the University of Nebraska’s Summer Research Symposium! For his project, Luke examined differences in gene expression in different maize root cell types via single cell/nucleus RNA sequencing with Dr. Marc Libault’s lab. Luke also placed in the top 5 poster presentations for all summer research programs across the university, which consisted of approximately 100 presenters! Congratulations, Luke!

Allison Publishes Manuscript in Journal of Experimental Zoology Part A

Former Demas lab graduate student Allison Bailey’s manuscript on the effects of food restriction during development on puberty and seasonal reproductive responses to food availability during adulthood was recently published in the Journal of Experimental Zoology Part A! In this study, Allison found that juvenile food restriction reduced growth and delayed puberty in both male and female hamsters. This delay in puberty, however, did not affect long-term seasonal reproductive responses to food availability in these animals. Collectively, her results provide insight into how seasonally breeding animals coordinate reproductive development and adult reproductive responses in changing environments.

A link for the manuscript can be found under the “Publications” page and can also be accessed here.

Kat Presents at SBN 2021

Last week, Kat gave a virtual poster presentation at SBN 2021, the Society for Behavioral Neuroendocrinology’s annual meeting! In her presentation, she discussed some of her recent findings on how adrenal and neural 3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (3β-HSD) activity varies in a seasonal and sex-specific manner in Siberian hamsters. Way to go, Kat!

Kate Publishes Manuscript in Journal of Experimental Zoology Part A

Kate’s manuscript on the repeatability of social and escape behaviors across developmental stages in male and female hamsters was recently published in the Journal of Experimental Zoology Part A! In this study, Kate showed that individuals’ social behavior scores were repeatable within the juvenile stage, but not across developmental stages. In contrast, escape behavior scores were highly repeatable across developmental stages, but males’ scores were more repeatable than females’ scores. Collectively, her results suggest that personality traits associated with social behavior are less stable across development, while behaviors associated with stress could be a more permanent feature of an individual’s behavioral phenotype. In addition, her findings suggest that there are sex differences in the long-term repeatability of personality.

A link for the manuscript can be found under the “Publications” page and can also be accessed here.

Jess Publishes Review in Journal of Experimental Biology

Jess’s review on the use of non-model systems to study microbiome-behavior relationships was recently published in the Journal of Experimental Biology! In her paper, Jess describes the benefits of studying how the gut microbiome influences social behavior using a comparative approach, with a particular focus on how the gut microbiome can affect behavior in the context of development, reproduction, parental care, and cooperation and the novel mechanisms and environmental factors that may influence these microbiome-behavior relationships.

A link for the manuscript can be found under the “Publications” page and can also be accessed here.

Congratulations to our Spring 2021 Graduates!

Congratulations to our spring 2021 graduates: undergraduate students Taylor Deckard, Molly Pendergast, and Andi Nowakowski! All of us in the Demas lab are so proud of all you have accomplished, and we wish you the best of luck on your future endeavors!

Jess Accepts Assistant Professor Position at Utah Valley University

Jess recently accepted an Assistant Professor position at Utah Valley University, which she will be starting in Fall 2021! Jess’s lab at UVU will investigate the developmental mechanisms influencing individual variation in cooperation. Congratulations Jess, and we can’t wait to hear about the exciting research that comes out of the Cusick Lab!

Kat Publishes Manuscript in Journal of Neuroendocrinology

Kat’s manuscript on how melatonin regulates seasonal variation in neurosteroids and aggressive behavior was recently published in the Journal of Neuroendocrinology! In this study, Kat showed that male hamsters given a long-term, short day (SD)-like melatonin signal, either via timed melatonin injections or exposure to SD photoperiods (LD-M and SD hamsters, respectively), displayed increased aggression and showed region-specific reductions in dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), testosterone (T), and estradiol (E2) levels in brain regions associated with aggressive behavior. She also showed that LD-M and SD hamsters exhibited similar associations between aggression and neurosteroid levels, in which neural T, E2, and cortisol were negatively correlated with aggression, whereas neural progesterone and DHEA were positively correlated with aggression. Collectively, her findings suggest that seasonal changes in neurosteroid levels and aggression in mammals are mediated, at least in part, by melatonin.

A link for the manuscript can be found under the “Publications” page and can also be accessed here.

Kat Presents at SICB 2021

This week, Kat gave an oral presentation at SICB 2021, the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology’s annual meeting! In her talk, she discussed some of her recent findings on the role of adrenal melatonin 1a receptor (Mel1aR) signaling in modulating territorial aggression in male Siberian hamsters. Way to go, Kat!

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