Lab Alumni

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Graduate Students

Muvari Tjiurutue PhD Plant Biology, April 2016.
Upon receiving her PhD, Muvari began a position as a Lecturer at the University of Namibia, where she is teaching in biochemistry and conducting research. Update: In 2017, Muvari became Head of Department!

Melissa Ha MS OEB May 2014.
In Aug 2014, Melissa fulfilled her goal of teaching at a community college by beginning a tenure-track position at the Kingman Campus of Mohave Community College. In January 2017, Melissa moved closer to home and began a new tenure-track position at Yuba Community College.

Nicole Soper Gorden PhD Plant Biology Nov 2012.
In Jan 2013, Nicole began an NSF-funded Project Baseline postdoctoral position working with Julie Etterson at the University of Minnesota at Duluth. In 2016, she began a tenure-track position in the Dept of Natural Sciences at Mars Hill University.

Sandy Gillespie PhD OEB & Entomology April 2011.
Following a postdoctoral position with Neal Williams at UC Davis, in January 2014, Sandy began a second postdoctoral position. She is working with Elizabeth Elle at Simon Fraser University. In 2017, Sandy began a tenure-track position at the University of the Fraser Valley in British Columbia.

Holly Bernardo MS OEB Feb 2010.
In May 2010, Holly began a 5-year Plant Ecology research technician position at the Tyson Research Center, the field station for Washington University in Saint Louis.

Andy Cavanagh MS Entomology Aug 2008.
Andy continued his Extension position with Ruth Hazzard for several years, and is now working at a web design company.

Kristen Hladun MS Plant Biology Dec 2006.
After defending her Master's thesis, Kristen began working on her PhD with Dr. John Trumble in the Dept of Entomology at UC Riverside, where she received an EPA STAR award to support her research. She then continued with Dr. Trumble for her postdoctoral work.

Amanda Lentz PhD Biology, Virginia Tech July 2007.
She is currently an Associate Instructor of Biology at John Tyler Community College.

Postdoctoral researchers

Kim Skyrm: Feb-Aug 2015, co-mentored by Dr. Anne Averill. Kim began an exciting position as the Massachusetts State Apiary Inspector with MDAR. We are enjoying continued interactions with Kim in this new role.

Scott McArt: 2012-2014. Scott was supported by a two-year USDA postdoctoral fellowship. He began a Research Scientist position in the Dept. of Entomology at Cornell University in Fall 2014.

Lei Gao: 2013-2014. Lei spent a year in the lab as an International Scholar funded by the Chinese Academy of Sciences. He has now returned to his research position at the Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden.

Annie Leonard: 2011-2012. Annie was the OEB Darwin Fellow jointly working with Beth Jakob and Lynn Adler. She began a tenure-track position at the University of Nevada at Reno in Fall 2012.

Nick Barber: 2009-2011. Nick was supported by a three-year USDA grant to study multispecies interactions in cucumber. He joined the Department of Biological Sciences at Northern Illinois University in Fall 2011 and now has a tenure-track position there.

Nina Theis: 2005-2009. Nina was initially supported on a USDA NE IPM grant to Lynn Adler and Ruth Hazzard, and then received her own NSF grant to support her work on the role of floral volatiles for herbivory and pollination in wild gourds. Nina began at tenure-track position at Elms College in Fall 2009, and is now tenured there.

Toby Kiers: OEB Darwin Fellow 2005-2006. Toby received a 3 year independent research 'Veni' Grant from Dutch Science Foundation: Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (NWO) and began working with Dr. Marcel G. van der Heijden in the Institute of Ecological Sciences, Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, where she now has a permanent, tenure-track position.

Independent research undergraduates
Amy Zhao, Lucy Metz, Cali Grinavitch, and Emilia Mann: Summer 2016 High School Independent Research (Amy and Lucy: Summer Pre-College)
"Parasite location and its effects on pathogen transmission in bumble bees"

George LoCascio: Summer 2016 Independent Research
"The effect of sunflower pollen on bee disease transmission during floral foraging"

Tina Rothchild: Summer 2016 Independent Research
"The role of thymol in bee disease transmission during floral foraging"

Pheobe Deneen: 2015-16 Commonwealth College Honors Thesis
"The effect of rutin on bumble bee disease"

Trung Le: Spring 2015 First-Year Research Experience

Aimee Lin, Yoonjin Moon, & Kristen Michaud: 2014-15 First-Year Research Experience
"Genetic variation in Crithidia bombi response to anabasine"

Jonathan Giacomini: REU and 2014-15 Senior Thesis
"Influence of pollen diet on parasite infection in bumble bees"

Olivia Biller: 2014-15 Hampshire Division III Senior Thesis with Evan Palmer-Young
"Dose-dependent effects of thymol on bumble bee pathogens"

Lukas Thorburn: 2014-15 Commonwealth College Honors Thesis with Evan Palmer-Young
"Synergistic effect of nicotine and anabasine on bee parasite loads"

Caitlin McAllister: 2014-15 Commonwealth College Honors Thesis.
"Synergistic effects of thymol and anabasine on bee parasite loads"

Taylor Conroy: 2014-15 Commonwealth College Honors Thesis.
"Assessing the impacts of nutrient limitation on bumble bee resistance to infection with a trypanosome gut parasite"

Patrick Anderson: 2014-15 NSF REU & Commonwealth College Honors Thesis
"Effects of anabasine on within-colony pathogen transmission in bumble bees"

Sara Connon: 2014-15 Senior Thesis with Scott McArt.
"Pesticide effects on pathogen susceptibility in Bombus impatiens"

Ari Soleil: 2014-15 Commonwealth College Honors Thesis with Matt Boyer.
"Transgenerational effects of herbivory on resistance"

Rebecca Warren: Spring-Summer 2014 with Matt Boyer and Scott McArt.
"Do differences in pollinator community composition explain affect disease transmission in highbush blueberry?"

Thuyen Truong: Summer 2014 Summer College (high school student) with Melissa Ha.
"The role of time in mediating pathogen transmission between bumble bees"

Adrienne Lee: Summer 2014 Summer College (high school student) with Melissa Ha and Devin Shaheen.
"Anabasine affects Crithidia bombi transmission in Bombus impatiens over time"

Anna Peters: 2013-2014 Commonwealth College Honors Thesis with Laura Doubleday.
"Effects of floral display on the reproductive success of Silene vulgaris"

Cynthia Bensburg: Fall 2013 First-Year Research Experience with Evan Palmer-Young.
"Induced effects of damage on neighboring lima bean plants"

Jessica Leslie: Fall 2013 First-Year Research Experience with Melissa Ha.
"Post-ingestion thymol effects on a bumble bee pathogen"

Alexandra Hamilton: Fall 2013 First-Year Research Experience with Melissa Ha.
"Post-ingestion thymol effects on a bumble bee pathogen"

Maria Servidone: 2012-2013 Commonwealth College Honors Thesis with Nicole Soper Gorden.
"Effects of insect florivory versus mechanical damage on floral traits and plant reproduction"

Karly Henry: 2011-2012 senior thesis with Annie Leonard.
"Does consumption of nectar containing secondary metabolites reduce level of Crithidia bombi infection in Bombus impatiens?"
Karly is now studying plant-insect interactions in graduate school with Dr. Szczepaniak at South Dakota State University.
Winston Anthony: 2011-2012 senior thesis with Annie Leonard.
"Effects of a plant alkaloid on adult bumblebee infection with a trypanosome parasite."

Erica Fitzpatrick: 2010-2011, including REU and semester-long independent studies.
"Potential self-medication of bumble bees Via secondary compounds."

Jana Muschinski: Spring 2011.
"Effect of nectar secondary compounds on bumble bee preference."
Jana conducted this research as a high school volunteer, and then began college at Emory University.

Matt Boyer (Cox): Commonwealth College Honor's Thesis, 2010-11 with Nicole Soper Gorden.
"Floral damage induces resistance to herbivory in Impatiens capensis."
Matt graduated from UMass in May 2011, and began his PhD in the OEB and Entomology graduate programs the following fall.

Kayla Carrero: Commonwealth CollegeHonor's Thesis, 2009-10 with Sandy Gillespie.
"Effects of parasitism on bumble bee pollination service."
Kayla graduated from UMass in May 2010, and is now applying for graduate programs as a Physician's Assistant.

Allie Clifford: Hampshire College Division III Thesis 2009-2010 with Nick Barber and Lynn Adler.
"Pollination, herbivory and reproduction success."
Allie graduated from Hampshire College in Spring 2010 and is currently working as an intern under an ecologist for the BLM through the Chicago botanic garden's conservation and land management program. For the future she is looking for research technician positions with a university lab doing conservation-oriented work.

Lauren Bishop: Summer and Fall 2009 with Nicole Soper Gorden.
"Experimental Handling Effects on Impatiens capensis."

Nick Cline: Summer and Fall 2009 with Holly Bernardo and Lynn Adler.
"Bee biodiversity and pollinator efficiency."

Amanda Eigner: REU 2009.
"Effect of florivory and pollination on reproduction in butternut squash."
Amanda is currently an Environmental Science, Conservation & Geography major at Carthage College.

Nelson Milano: REU 2009 and 2010.
"Role of aboveground damage on belowground preference of Acalymma vittatum root-feeding larvae."
Nelson is currently a Plant, Soil and Insect Science major at UMass Amherst.

James Duguay: Commonwealth College Honor's Thesis, 2008-09 with Sandy Gillespie.
"Landscape and Local Scale Effects on Bee Diversity and Abundance in Western Massachusetts."

Justin Van Goor: Spring 2009 with Nicole Soper Gorden.
"The role of abiotic factors for germination in Impatiens capensis." Justin is currently a Biology major at UMass Amherst.

Joanne Phillipeux: Spring 2009 with Holly Bernardo.
"Heritability in Solanum carolinense plants."
Joanne is currently a Biology and neuroscience major at UMass Amherst.

Ian Coupal: Fall 2008 with Sandy Gillespie.
"A survey of conopid fly parasitoid prevalence upon wild bee populations in Western Massachusetts."
Ian is currently working for Dana-Farber as a Research Technician in the Griffin lab Medical Oncology Department.

Olivia Simpson: Fall 2008 with Sandy Gillespie.
"Effects of Conopid Fly Parasitism on Flower Constancy of Bombus griseocollis."

Jonathan Lopez-Colon: SPUR 2008 with Nicole Soper Gorden.
"How habitat and abiotics factors affect insect interactions and mating system at in endemic species of Eastern North America Impatiens capensis Meerb. (Jewelweed, Balsaminaceae)."
Jonathan is currently an undergraduate at the Universidad Metropolitana, San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Jen Fill: Spring 2008 with Holly Baltzer.
"Effects of fungal infection on herbivore feeding preference in Lowbush Blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium)."
Since her time in the Adler lab, Jen has travelled the world, including an REU at Konza Prairie Research Natural Area, an internship in an NSF-sponsored program in China, and is now in Australia. Check out her exploits on her blog. Jen will begin a PhD program at the University of South Carolina-Columbia in Fall 2010, where she will study ecosystem integrity and resilience, fire in natural resource management, and trophic interactions.

Jesse Thomas: Fall 2008.
"Test of Extraction Protocol on Carolina jessamine and Stability of the Alkaloid Gelsemine."

Jeselyn Calderon-Ayala: SPUR 2007.
"Growth and pollination in Cucumis sativa: cucurbitacin effects and resource costs on cucumber yield. "
She is currently an undergraduate in the Model Institutions for Excellence at the Universidad Metropolitana, San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Liz Andrews: Senior Honor's thesis, 2005-06.
"Pollinator and herbivore attraction to the scent of Cucurbita volatiles."
Liz received a Master's degree in Entomology in the same department with Dr. Stephen Rich and is now pursuing her PhD with Dr. Steven Dobson at the University of Kentucky.

Dominique Devaris: Spring 2005.
"Effects of Drought Stress and Herbivory in Nicotiana bigelovii. "

Mike Jarjoura: REU 2005.
"Belowground preference and performance of Acalymma vittatum on Cucumis sativa. "

Megan Gittinger: REU, Virginia Tech 2004, examining correlations between floral traits, defensive traits, and pollinator reliance in the genus Nicotiana. She continued this project at UMass Amherst after her graduation before working internships with the Smithsonian Institute and for Wild Aid Asia in Thailand. She is now pursuing a PhD program with Dr. Todd Palmer at the University of Florida Zoology Program.


Monica Messer was the Adler lab technician from April 2005-May 2006, when we sadly ran out of funds. She is currently working at Smith College.