Adamo Lab

Invertebrate Behavioural Physiology

My academic adventure began at the University of Western Ontario in London, where I received my B.Sc. with honours specialization in Animal Physiology and a minor in Classical Studies. During these years, I worked with Dr. Brock Fenton to examine different morphologies of bat larynges using microcomputed tomography (MicroCT) technology. Being a part of Dr. Fenton's lab for a number of years is what really got me interested in research.

I then moved to Ottawa where I studied under Dr. Jayne Yack at Carleton University. I completed my M.Sc. in biology studying hearing in butterflies (yes, butterflies have ears!). I had a lot of fun in this lab as I acquired skills collecting extracellular nerve recordings, building a portable physiology rig, performing microdissections, and imaging with SEM and light microscopes.

Next, I worked with Dr. Jeff Dawson at Carleton University, where I started and reared my own solitary locust colony and took responsibility over the group's existing gregarious locust colony. I conducted research in an insect-sized wind flight tunnel looking at the difference in flight characteristics between solitary-bred and gregarious-bred locusts. Also, I had the chance to help Dr. Dawson develop an online bioacoustics course that has been made available to graduate students across Canada.

Presently, I find myself in this wonderful lab studying the effects of illness induced anorexia on invertebrates. My studies here centre around looking at possible trade-offs between the immune system and the detoxification system of the caterpillar Manduca sexta. While investigating this particularly interesting phenomenon I incorporate the use of behaviour, biochemical assays, as well as molecular genetic techniques. Using this variety of methods allows me to address my question of interest from a number of different angles.  

Dylan Miller (Ph.D. Candidate)

Well hey there!  My name’s Dylan, and I graduated in Spring 2015 from Michigan State University with my B.Sc. in Neuroscience and my B.A. in Political Theory & Constitutional Democracy. While there I first studied prefrontal cortex motor planning in rats with Dr. Karim Oweiss, then fell in love with ethology while studying sex differences in scorpion antipredator behaviour under Drs. Ashlee and Matthew Rowe. 

I have also interned, worked part time, and worked full time for Backyard Brains, a company that develops neuroscience educational technologies and materials. While there I managed scientific research, developed experiments for distribution, was in marketing and public relations, and represented the company at many conferences.  This helped me grow a fondness for neuroscience education and outreach that continues to this day.

I joined the Adamo Lab in Fall 2016 as a M.Sc. student in the Psychology and Neuroscience program.  I was drawn to work with this lab because of my fascination with neuroethology, particularly parasitic manipulation of host behaviour. Currently I’m studying feeding behaviour in the tobacco hornworm, Manduca sexta.  I’m curious about what signals tell caterpillars to stop eating.  From this I plan to move on to working out how parasitic wasps end the caterpillar feeding behaviour upon their emergence from the host. 

Laura Hall (Ph.D. Candidate)

E-mail: dy882407@dal.ca