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Behavior

Fostering intrinsic motivation through creativity, curiosity, and connection

In the era of standardized testing, it is all too easy to lose the curiosity and love of learning that drove us as young learners, and switch to an extrinsic motivation mindset, learning just enough to get the desired grade. I hypothesize that by designing assignments and modules which value creativity and curiosity, and have the right balance of challenge, autonomy, purpose, and community building, we can help our students rekindle their intrinsic motivation and love of science and guide them into becoming lifelong learners.

Using evidence to teach effectively and equitably

As scientists, we find motivating questions, we collaborate with colleagues, and we engage with peer-reviewed studies to guide our research. As teachers, we should do the same to guide our teaching. In this talk, I'll explain (a) what my teaching goals are, (b) how my practice is guided by pedagogical studies, (c) how I contribute to pedagogical research, and (d) future goals for undergraduate education at UW Biology.

Functional genomics of adaptation to abiotic stresses

Plant nutrient metabolism is regulated through a variety of biological processes, many of which are controlled and coordinated by internal factors such as cell type and developmental stage as well as external factors such as soil quality and other environmental conditions. My research focuses on investigating the genetic and molecular underpinnings of developmental and physiological processes that have been altered to allow plants to tolerate challenging nutrient environments.

Long duration advertisement calls of nesting male plainfin midshipman fish are honest indicators of size and condition

Balebail S., Sisneros JA.  2022.  Long duration advertisement calls of nesting male plainfin midshipman fish are honest indicators of size and condition. Journal of Experimental Biology.

Up close and personal: Short-range heat and humidity detectors for mosquito host-seeking and egg-laying behaviors

Mosquitoes use multiple host-associated cues to efficiently locate sources of blood. While detection mechanisms for longer-range cues like CO2 and odors have been widely studied, less is known about how mosquitoes sense the short-range heat and humidity gradients surrounding hosts. We recently demonstrated that heat-seeking in the malaria vector Anopheles gambiae is driven by cooling-activated neurons requiring the Ionotropic Receptor (IR) subunit IR21a.

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