New publication: Transcriptomics of freeze tolerance

And now some good news to start the new year: the second data chapter from my Ph.D. thesis is now published in Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology D! In this article, we compared gene expression of crickets that survive freezing (freeze tolerant) and crickets that don’t (freeze intolerant) to better understand how insects survive internal ice formation. Freeze-tolerant crickets modify expression of all sorts of genes that likely help protect cells at low temperatures, and you can read all about it here (or contact me for  copy).

Graphical abstract
Graphical abstract of the article, illustrating how changes in gene expression may support processes that facilitate freeze tolerance

New publication: How crickets become freeze-tolerant

A bit of good news to end the year – the first data chapter from my Ph.D. thesis has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Insect Physiology! In this manuscript, we describe how the spring field cricket becomes freeze-tolerant when kept under ‘autumn-like’ conditions (i.e. decreasing temperature and day length) for six weeks. This is one of very few freeze-tolerant insects than can be grown in the lab, and allows us to do all sorts of neat laboratory experiments to better understand how some insects survive freezing. You can read more about what we found here (or contact me for a copy).

Graphical abstract
Graphical abstract for this article, illustrating the conditions that induce freeze tolerance, and how crickets change their physiology when acclimated to those conditions

My first invited conference talk, at the Joint Annual Meeting of Entomologists

This week, I attended my first entomology conference – and quite a cool one at that! The entomological societies of America, Canada, and British Columbia collaborated to put together a stunning joint meeting in Vancouver, where insect biologists from around the world gathered to share their latest science. I was invited to talk about my Ph.D. research in a session on ‘Orthopteroids: Small Orders, Big Ideas.’ It was my first invited conference talk, and it was awesome to see so many other people getting excited about cricket freeze tolerance!

ESA cover page
Title slide for my presentation on how crickets survive freezing

The start of a postdoctoral adventure

Just 2 weeks post-Ph.D. defense, I set off in a UHaul truck to head to Denver, Colorado, where I’m joining the Ragland lab at University of Colorado Denver. I’ll be working on the overwintering biology and development of the apple maggot fly (Rhagoletis pomonella) and other insects for a couple of years. I’m excited to join the team!

A map of my cross-country road trip to Denver. (Yes, there was that much construction – but it was a nice excuse to slow down and enjoy the scenery!)

New publication: Review on insect freeze tolerance

My first review has been published! My Ph.D. supervisor and I wrote this long (but readable, I promise!) review on how we think insects survive internal ice formation for Biological Reviews. You can read all about it here (or contact me for a copy).

Update: Did I mention that Biological Reviews used one of our figures as their cover page? That’s a first for me!

Toxopeus and Sinclair 2018 Cover Page
The issue of Biological Reviews containing our review article, featuring a line-drawing of a freeze-tolerant cricket, created by Lauren E. Des Marteaux