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).

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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

Ph.D. thesis defense!

Today, I successfully defended my Ph.D. thesis. Both the lecture and exam were open to the public, and it was wonderful to have the support of family, friends and colleagues on this last day of school! For anyone who wants to read my thesis, it’s freely available for download here.

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Drinking from the Goblet of Knowledge (a Western University post-defense tradition) with Dr. Brent Sinclair (right) and one of my examiners Dr. Dan Hahn (left).

Final season of training teaching assistants at Western

For the next few weeks I’ll be running weekend-long workshops for new teaching assistants (TAs) at Western’s (newly re-named) Centre for Teaching and Learning. The TA Training Program at Western is one of the best in Canada, and it’s been brilliant to facilitate the program for the last three years. Sadly, this is my last year at the Centre for Teaching and Learning as a graduate student educational developer (because I’m finishing my Ph.D. soon!). I know I’m leaving the program in capable hands, and I hope I find future opportunities to help post-secondary instructors level-up their teaching.

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Always excited to start each new TATP session on a good foot!

Attending the Canadian Society of Zoologists annual meeting in St. John’s

I have just returned from one of my favourite scientific conference – the annual meeting of the Canadian Society of Zoologists. This year, the conference was held in the scenic and welcoming city of St. John’s Newfoundland, and I presented the latest results from my Ph.D. on insect freeze tolerance. This was my final year as a student councillor on the CSZ Council, and I look forward to continuing to attend these meetings in the future as a post-doc!

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View of St. John’s from a post-conference boat tour