Undergrads

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Undergraduate students in social cognition in birds

Scott Goeppner - Paz-y-Mino-C LABScott Goeppner: BioHonors Thesis “Social conflict in White-winged Wood Ducks” (September 2013-present). As part of his BioHonors Thesis, Scott has worked at the Roger Williams Zoo and made behavioral observations and analysis of the parent offspring conflict of a captive group of White-winged Wood Ducks. The study is strong in theory and explores the social interactions, sexual behavior and conflict of a family unit, which includes a breeding pair and soon-to-fledge offspring. During the Summer 2014, Scott participated at an internship in evolutionary biology at Oklahoma State University (REU-NSF), he was selected among hundreds of applicants from all over the United States.

ZebraFinchSketchOneFelecia Clodius (BioHonors), Rachael Bonoan (BioHonors), Annie Dawson, Sara Caetano: research assistants, project “Visual Perception in Zebra Finches” (Summer 2010-present). Poster presentations Biology New England South BioNES, Sigma-Xi, UMass Amherst. Illustration (left; by R. Bonoan) from “Dominance Hierarchy Formation in a Model Organism, the Zebra Finch (Taeniopygia guttata),” poster presentation by the four authors above; note that F. Clodius and R. Bonoan are Biology Honors.

Publication: Bonoan R, Clodius F, Dawson A, Caetano S, Yeung E & Paz-y-Miño-C, G. 2013. Dominance Hierarchy Formation in a Model Organism, the Zebra Finch (Taeniopygia guttata), and Its Potential Applications to Laboratory Research. BIOS 84: 201-209.

GPazyMinoC_Lab_Undergrads

Annie Dawson, Rachael Bonoan, Sara Caetano, Felecia Clodius and Elsa Yeung (MS-candidate) at the 2010 Biology New England South BioNES poster competition

AWARDS

UMass Biology major wins undergraduate competition at BioNES conference

Press Release UMass Dartmouth, December 5, 2011:

Rachael Bonoan, a Biology Major from Tiverton, RI, and member of an active team of undergraduate researchers at Dr. Guillermo Paz-y-Mino-C ‘s laboratory, at UMass Dartmouth, won the 2011 Biology New England South (BioNES) undergraduate oral competition with the talk “Dominance Hierarchy Formation and Its Potential Applications for Laboratory Research: Using a Model Organism, the Zebra Finch.” The BioNES meeting, which took place at Roger Williams University, on December 2, 2011, gathered 300 participants from UMass Dartmouth, Roger Williams University, Brown, Tufts, University of Rhode Island, Providence College, Rhode Island College, SALVE, University of Connecticut and the Buttonwood Park Zoo.

Rachael Bonoan winner of the Biology New England South (BioNES) undergraduate student competition, with advisor Dr. Guillermo Paz-y-Mino-C. (photo Deirdre Confar 2011).

The one-day event included faculty talks, the BioNES graduate and undergraduate student competitions, and a poster session in diverse fields: genetics, genomics, biotechnology, bioinformatics, developmental biology, molecular biology, microbiology, biochemistry, cell biology, neurobiology, evolution, behavior, ecology, biodiversity and conservation.

“My participation in BioNES proved to be an invaluable learning experience; the process of compiling the information and polishing the presentation for the oral competition was hard work but it was more than rewarding ” says Bonoan, currently a junior at UMassD and a collaborator in Dr. Paz-y-Mino-C ‘s research on the origin and evolution of complex forms of intelligence by using bird models. Bonoan expects to graduate in 2013 with a major in Biology and a minor in Spanish, and later pursue a career in health sciences.

New England Science Public, a networking initiative among academic institutions, sponsored the BioNES meeting. Dr. Paz-y-Mino-C, assistant professor of Biology at UMass Dartmouth, and Dr. Avelina Espinosa, associate professor of Molecular Microbiology and Biotechnology at Roger Williams University, have coordinated these annual meetings since 2006.

Felecia Clodius (BioHonors): Research assistant in Bird Social Cognition (Summer 2010-present). Poster award at the 6th BioNES meeting (December 2011): “The Significance of Dominant Subordinate Relationships in Zebra Finches (Taeniopygia guttata).”

MORE UNDERGRADUATES IN THE LAB

Jessica Silva (BioHonors): research assistant, project “Social complexity and the evolution of intelligence in a bird model organisms, the zebra finch” (February 2008-May 2009).Currently enrolled in Veterinary School.

Tessa McGrail, Ana Flavia Costa: lab assistants, “Social complexity and the evolution of intelligence in a bird model organisms, the zebra finch” (January-May 2009).

Jen Tavares & Kevin James: lab/research assistants, project “Social complexity and the evolution of intelligence in a bird model organisms, the zebra finch” (February-September 2008).

Deirdra Smith: research fellow, program Urban Massachusetts Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation UMLSAMP; project “Response to color and transitive reasoning in birds” (March-May 2008). Deirdra was awarded $500 to conduct this project.

Undergraduate students: conceptual understanding of evolutionary theory

CharlotteODriscoll Cognition Lab

Charlotte O’Driscoll (BioHonors): research assistant, ongoing project “Conceptual Understanding of Evolution and its Acceptance at Representative New-England Universities and Colleges: An Empirical Approach” (Spring 2011). UMassD Office of Faculty Development Grants.

Christiaan Rees: research assistant, ongoing project “Conceptual Understanding of Evolution and its Acceptance at Representative New-England Universities and Colleges: An Empirical Approach” (Summer 2010). Awarded poster presentation BioNES.  UMassD Office of Faculty Development Grants.

RebeccaPietruszka_EvolutionLiteracyRebecca Pietruszka: research assistant, ongoing project “Conceptual Understanding of Evolution and its Acceptance at Representative New-England Universities and Colleges: An Empirical Approach” (Summer- Fall 2010). Poster presentation BioNES. UMassD Office of Faculty Development Grants.

Lauren Murray: research assistant, ongoing project “Conceptual Understanding of Evolution and its Acceptance at Representative New-England Universities and Colleges: An Empirical Approach” (2009-2010). Poster presentations BioNES

BartWalsh_Galapagos_GPazyMinoC_2008Bart Walsh (philosophy major, left), Jen Frazier, Nathan Henner, Mayara Grizotte, Jessie Finneran: lab/ assistants “Conceptual Understanding of Evolution and its Acceptance at Representative New-England Universities and Colleges: An Empirical Approach” (January-May 2009).