The Meiselman Lab’s goal is to understand how the brain perceives threatening environmental factors and effectuates behavioral or metabolic changes in response. Poikilothermic arthropods are particularly vulnerable to abiotic factors like temperature and must, therefore, adopt rapid strategic responses to changing climatic conditions. Many insects, including disease-spreading mosquitoes and ticks, circumvent persistent adverse environmental factors by dramatically suppressing metabolic rate until these factors subside. During winter in temperate climates or dry season in the tropics, vectors like ticks and mosquitoes arrest reproduction and enter a period of quiescence, during which they are major reservoirs for disease. Dormancy is thereby a critical component of disease transmission cycles, but little is known about its mechanistic underpinnings. Cold temperatures elicit similar metabolic and behavioral changes in closely-related Drosophila melanogaster adults; a dramatic metabolic decline that results in a period of stasis wherein reproduction arrests and aging ceases. Our lab uses the fly, which is more genetically tractable than mosquitoes and ticks while maintaining a similar hormonal repertoire, to model arthropod disease vectors.
Expertise: Neurobiology, Genetics, Behavior, Molecular Biology
Degrees: B.A. Lawrence University, Ph.D. University of California-Riverside
Lab: WHI 254