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Research Experience

Department of Entomology & Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior program

Michigan State university 

  Postdoctoral Research Associate (2022/01 to now)

*Currently, I am leading three projects with two undergraduate students.

1. Investigating osmoregulation in desert Drosophila species.

  • Determining and characterizing candidate aquaporin genes that contribute to osmoregulation in a desert species, D. mojavensis.

2. Investigating overwintering physiology and genetics in the invasive spotted-wing Drosophila (SWD), Drosophila suzukii.

  • Characterizing mating success and sperm storage in the winter form of SWD.

3. Investigating Zinc regulation in insect reproduction. 

  • Characterizing the function and expression patterns of a newly found metallothionein gene, MtnF, in D. melanogaster, in its reproductive system

  Graduate Assistant                       (2017/08 to 2021/12)

Worked on genetic mechanisms underlying desiccation resistance in Drosophila species.

  • Determined the association between desiccation resistance and cuticular hydrocarbons (CHCs) in Drosophila species.

  • Identified a group of CHCs, named methyl branched CHCs (mbCHCs), as the important component in predicting desiccation resistance.

  • Identified a gene (named mElo) and characterized its function in synthesizing longer carbon-chain mbCHCs in a desert Drosophila species.

  • Demonstrated that longer chain mbCHC leads to higher desiccation resistance. 
    * Featured graduate student at the Department of Entomology at MSU in 2020 
    * Awards

Hutson Endowment Research Proposal Award for “Genetic mechanisms underlying desiccation resistance in desert fruit flies" in 2019

Robert R. Dreisbach Endowed Fellowship in Entomology in 2021 for outstanding achievement in the total Ph.D. program

Department of Entomology Outstanding Ph.D. Award in 2021

Department of Entomology, Louisiana State University

  Research Assistant                       (2015/01 to 2017/05)

Worked on developing the integrated pest management strategies for Acanthococcus lagerstroemiae (Kuwana) focusing on cold tolerance & biological control

  • Reviewed knowledge about the biology and ecology of A. lagerstroemiae and proposed research venues for integrated pest management.

  • Determined thermal tolerance, host range, and temperature-dependent development of A. lagerstroemiae, as well as potential damage to its host plant.

  • Determined physiological mechanisms underlying the adaptation of A. lagerstroemiae to the seasonal colder temperatures.

  • Developed a computational pipeline to predict the potential distribution of A. lagerstroemiae in the US based on physiological tolerance.

  • Predicted the potential distribution of A. lagerstroemiae in the US using the Maximum Entropy Modelling (MaxEnt).

  • Studied the biology of a predatory lady beetle, Chilocorus cacti L., as the biological control agent of A. lagerstroemiae.

  • Searched natural enemies of A. lagerstroemiae in China and the US for classical biological control.

  • Surveyed infestation of A. lagerstroemiae in several counties in Louisiana, Texas, and Arkansas, and reported to the EDDMapS.
     

College of Forestry, Beijing Forestry University

  Research Specialist             (2014/03 to 2014/12)

Worked on a collaborative project with Dr. Kelli Hoover at the Department of     Entomology at Pennsylvania State University and Dr. Melody Keena at USDA Forest Service.

  • Designed and implemented a field experiment in Cixi, Zhejiang province, China, on testing the efficacy of plant volatile lures and sex pheromone lures on two invasive longhorned beetles, Anoplophora chinensis and Anoplophora glabripennis.

  • Performed molecular identification for a potential hybrid of Anoplophora chinensis and Anoplophora glabripennis using COI and RAPD.

  Student Worker                   (2010/06 to 2012/12)

  • Participated in the project for rapid identification of Douglas-fir beetles (Dendroctonus spp.) via Nested PCR.

    • (Won National Undergraduate Innovation Project Award in 2012).

  • Worked on a trapping experiment of Cydia trasias on the campus of Beijing Forestry University.

    • Designed and implemented the experiment, as well as analyzed the data.

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Injecting fly embryo to make transgenic strains.

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Transgenic flies of D. melanogaster pupae and D. mojavensis adult; Setup for desiccation assay.

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Bioassay to determine thermal tolerance of CMBS.

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Greenhouse for the host range experiment.

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Lipid extraction and thin layer chromatogram.

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I was using 15 computers for the calculation at the same time. Thanks to my friend, Dr. Nan Shang (Department of Geography and Anthropology, LSU) providing his computer laboratory, and Dr. Zhichao Xue (Department of Physics and Astronomy, LSU) helping with the coding. 

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Two species of ladybeetles native to the US are preying on CMBS. From left to right: Adult and larvae of Hyperaspis bigeminata, and adult of Chilocorus cacti.

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Three species of parasitoids (Hymenoptera: Encyrtidae) were found in China. The picture on the right is exit holes on CMBS females caused by parasitoids. Thanks to the help from Dr. Juan Shi Lab at Beijing Forestry University. 

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Left: Me trailing dozens of assembled traps for the field experiment; Right: A picture of A. chinensis adult.

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