News

Spring 2021

Congratulations to our graduating seniors, who have made many important contributions to the research in our lab over the past couple of years! We are proud of their many achievements and wish them all the best for a bright future:
Joyce Wang, who has been mentored by Dr. Becca Young, has been critical to our ongoing analyses of the neural transcriptome in response to social opportunity. Joyce is currently writing up a manuscript on her research. She will soon join the Cell & Molecular Biology program at UT Austin (computational biology and bioinformatics track), so she won’t venture too far away, which is lucky for us!
Emily Reed has been working with Caitlin Friesen in the lab to examine whether blue and yellow male A. burtoni cichlids differ in their space use and how they respond to perturbations in their environment. Emily will enroll in the Genetics graduate program at Texas A&M University!
Last, but not least, Cassidy Malone completed a beautiful honors thesis on the neural basis of familiarity in our cichlids. Working with Dr. Mariana Rodriguez Santiago, Cassidy found that midbrain dopaminergic neurons appear to encode aspects of familiarity! She will join the graduate program in Psychology at Cornell University!
We have no doubt that Joyce, Emily, and Cassidy will excel in their graduate studies, and we look forward to the great things they will accomplish!

Wonderful news: Two of our amazing undergraduate researchers have won Undergraduate Research Fellowships to continue their research! Congratulations to Andy Zhou, who is working with Dr. Becca Young to understand sex-specific maternal effect in birds; and Niharika Pakala, who examines the responses to reproductive opportunity in dynamic social environments in our cichlids in collaboration with Isaac Miller-Crews!

Congratulations to Dr. Kelly Wallace on an outstanding dissertation defense! A large crowd showed up to learn about Kelly's innovative work on how sex and social status affect cognition in the cichlid, A. burtoni! Funded by a Ford Foundation Fellowship as well as a Graduate School Continuing Fellowship, Kelly came to the lab to add a much needed new perspective to our model system. Some of her research has already been published and more is forthcoming. Kelly recently won a NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellowship (hurray!), which she is taking to  Dr. Aubrey Kelly's lab at Emory University.

 

Fall 2020

Isaac will be presenting a public outreach lecture on "Animal Brains!" on Dec 10th at 7 pm CST as part of the Science under the Stars public lecture series. More details can be found at https://scienceunderthestars.org/

Congratulations to our star undergraduate researchers Asha, Joyce, and Sherley, who were awarded Undergraduate Research Fellowships. Joyce will continue her work on the neural transcriptomic response to social opportunity in A. burtoni. Asha and Sherley will continue working together characterizing variation in sensory transcriptomes in stickleback fish across environments.

We are welcoming Dr. Ross DeAngelis to our lab! Ross has received a prestigious NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellowship to study how the brain encodes different valences in the context of parental behavior. His research combines advanced neurobiological and molecular approaches to uncover the neural basis of social behavior. He completed his PhD research with Dr. Justin Rhodes at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign on the neural underpinnings of parental care in anemone fish.

Welcome to Dr. Shana Caro, who joins us as one of the inaugural Stengl-Wyer Scholars! Shana's research uses both empirical and theoretical approaches to understand how signaling systems evolve when there are evolutionary conflicts of interest between signallers and receivers. She comes to UT from Columbia University, where she was a Junior Fellow with the Simons Foundation, working with Dustin Rubenstein. Dr. Caro's research at UT combines field work, theoretical modeling, and neurotranscriptomics to study how evolutionary conflict shapes parental investment in the European starling (Sturnus vulgaris).

Congratulations Dr. Mariana Rodriguez on an outstanding dissertation defense! Huge crowd, great committee, amazing research on neural basis of social learning! Plus, her fascinating work has been published in PNAS and demonstrates that socially dominant individuals may exert more force in a group, but passive individuals are better at helping the group to reach consensus!

 

Summer 2020

Kendra is leaving us to start graduate school in the Cellular & Molecular Biology program at UT Austin. When she joined our lab as a technician, it quickly became clear that there was nothing that Kendra couldn't do, and she managed to make numerous important contributions to various projects. She did so very efficiently, absolutely reliably, and with great attention to detail. While it is sad to see her leave us, we are looking forward to watching all the great things she will accomplish. Thank you, Kendra, and please visit often! May the sharpies and lab tape always be with you!

We are thrilled that Dr. Shana Caro will be joining us this fall as one of the inaugural Stengl-Wyer Fellows! Shana's research at UT will combine field work, evolutionary modeling, and neurotranscriptomics to study how evolutionary conflict shapes parental investment in songbirds. Shana received her BS from Harvard and her PhD from Oxford University (with Ashleigh Griffin and Stu West). She is currently finishing up a postdoctoral fellowship with Dustin Rubenstein at Columbia University.

Many conferences are canceled this year, including the Society for Behavioral Neuroendocrinology meeting, which is one of our "house meetings." However, the pandemic did not stop Kelly from winning a SBN Travel Award. Congrats, Kelly!

Joyce has been awarded a Summer 2020 TIDES Advanced Undergraduate Research Fellowship to continue her research on the SUB->DOM transition project. She has already made a tremendous contribution to this challenging project including a poster at SICB and a 200+ deck of slides full of figures. We're thrilled that she will be able to continue this summer! Congratulations, Joyce, on this well-deserved award!

Dr. Ross DeAngelis has been awarded a NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellowship to study, in the monogamous convict cichlid, how distinct behaviors occurring within a behavioral suite are regulated by shared neural components in reward-related brain areas. Congratulations, Ross, on a highly deserved award, and welcome (back) to our lab!

We are overjoyed to make these exciting announcements: Mariana will join Dr. Kim Hoke's laboratory at Colorado State University this fall as a postdoctoral fellow! Congratulations on what will no doubt be a very productive collaboration! Mariana will study the neural mechanisms underlying decision-making during female choice in frogs, which will also allow her to collaborate with Dr. Mark Bee at the University of Minnesota. Kelly has been awarded a NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellowship to work with Dr. Aubrey Kelly at Emory University! Congratulations on this tremendous achievement, which will allow Kelly to start a new research program some time next spring on the neural basis of social cognition in spiny mice!

     

Spring 2020

Congratulations to our undergraduate researchers, Sarah Campbell and Pragati Kore, who are both graduating from UT this month with flying colors! We are proud of their many achievements and grateful for their contributions to the research in our lab over the past couple of years. Best wishes to both and their great plans for the future:
Sarah has been involved in several immunohistochemistry projects over the past couple of years and has been our fish caretaker extraordinaire until the pandemic prevented her from coming back to campus. The fish have already been missing her for 2.5 months! Sarah will join Andy Bass' lab in the Neurobiology & Behavior graduate program at Cornell University. This is a great choice, and we look forward to the fascinating secrets she will uncover in the very cool plainfin midshipman fish!
Pragati has been an essential part of Becca and Hans' collaboration with Andrea Gore's lab on the effects of embryonic exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals on social behavior and brain gene expression profiles. Pragati will join the graduate program in bioinformatics at Boston University, where she will no doubt do great things as well.

Big congratulations to former undergrad, Megan Chan!! Megan, who graduated in December, received a Research Distinction award for 2019-2020 graduating seniors for her work on the hourglass project and beyond. This is a highly competitive award and one that was highly deserved!

Great news! A Catalyst grant proposal submitted by Hans and Michael Drew, entitled "Molecular Profiling of Valence Coding in the Hippocampus," has been selected for funding!

Two of the proposals Becca submitted to the Stengl-Wyer Endowment Programs competition have been funded! This is much deserved and a testament to Becca's excellence and creativity!

A lot of great news - Emily, Isaac, and Will have been awarded IB Research Grants to support their excellent work! Congratulations also to Mariana who has been awarded a Summer Fellowship by the graduate school! These awards are all highly deserved and provide a great boost during this difficult time!

Congrats to Kelly, who has been awarded the University Graduate Continuing Fellowship for the 2020/21 academic year! This is an amazing achievement and very much deserved!

Wonderful news! Matthew, Karleen, Layla, and Don received a collaborative Undergraduate Research Fellowship award to examine the mechanisms by which A. burtoni discriminate color! Congratulations on the highly deserved acheivement!

     

Fall 2019

Congrats to Isaac, who has been awarded $6,400 in research funds by the Texas Ecolab program! These funds will allow him to carry out an ecological genomics study of physiological adaptation in fishes to extreme Central Texas environments.

We are very much looking forward to the upcoming SICB conference here in Austin: We will present five posters and three talks! So it is exciting that several lab members have received awards to attend the SICB meeting: Congratulations to Emily, Isaac, Joyce, Kelly, Will for receiving the Charlotte Mangum Award, which will cover the conference registration fee! On top of that, Mariana and Kelly both have received a Broadening Participation Award! And congrats to Mariana, who was selected to present her research in the DNNSB Best Student Paper Symposium, and Isaac, who will be presenting his poster as part of the DEE BSP: Huey Award Competition! Together with Caitlin, who was invited to serve as #scicomm Ambassador during the meeting, this is an amazing haul!

After a mad dash to the finish line, Kelly, Mariana, and Ross successfully submitted their NSF postdoctoral fellowship applications! Congratulations! Every single proposal is creative and innovative and will no doubt make great contributions to our understanding of the neural underpinnings of social behavior across mammals, amphibians, and teleosts! Fingers crossed!

Congratulations to Pragati, who has been awarded a $1000 Undergraduate Research Fellowship for her proposal, "Exploring the Variance Structure of a Socially Sensitive Transcriptome." This is wonderful news and a well deserved recognition!

Great news! Isaac has been awarded a 3-year Graduate Research Fellowship in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics by the Department of Justice! This is amazing news and a wonderful accomplishment!

Congratulations to Megan who just accepted a position as a Bioinformatics Analyst with Adaptive Biotechnologies. Excited for her big move to Seattle in January!

Very excited to welcome our new graduate student, Emily Lessig. Emily just completed her MS degree at UCLA and is joining us through the Ecology, Evolution & Behavior program. 

     

Summer 2019

Kendra Zwonitzer is joining the team as our new lab technician! Welcome Kendra!! 

Great news!! Kelly has been accepted to attend the Junior Scientist Workshop on Mechanistic Cognitive Neuroscience at HHMI’s Janelia Research Campus this fall! Lots of people apply to attend these small, highly interactive, and selective workshops, so this is a great, accomplishment, and well-deserved. Congratulations Kelly!! 

Hans was recently interviewed by The Cichlid Stage blog, check it out here  

Congratulations to Caitlin, who received a travel award from the Society for Behavioral Neuroendocrinology to attend their annual conference in Bloomington (IN)! 

Very excited to welcome our new graduate student, Jiawei "Will" Han! Will is a graduate student in the Bioinformatics and Computational Biology track in the Cellular & Molecular Biology program! 

     

Spring 2019

Congratulations to Caitlin, who has been awarded the 2019 Spring Dissertation Writing Fellowship by the College of Natural Sciences! This is wonderful news and highly deserved. 

Isaac wrote a BEACON blog post about his research, including some of the neat techniques he's working on to assign paternity to male cichlids! Check it out here

Megan Chan wrote a great BEACON blog post about her research on the developmental hourglass with Becca and Hans, and the journey that led her to Big Data. Check it out here

Congratulations to Kelly for two impressive achievements! Kelly's poster was selected from among 40+ posters to win the Best Poster Award at the 2019 Ecological Integration Symposium at Texas A&M University! She has also been awarded the IB Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant, which will provide her with $8,000 to further enhance her thesis research! Great work Kelly!! 

Very exciting news!! Hans was awarded an “Exemplar Award” at the Animal Behavior Conference recognizing achievement in integrating diverse approaches in the study of animal behavior. Congratulations!! 

Congratulations to Mariana, who has been awarded a competitive 2019 Summer Fellowship by the UT Austin Graduate School. This is wonderful news and a well deserved recognition! 

Great news!! Becca's collaborative BEACON proposal on the "Genomic and Computational Dissection of the Function and Evolution of Life History Transitions" has been funded in full! 

Congratulations to Becca and her fabulous comparative transcriptomics paper that has been published in PNAS!! Her study uses several novel approaches to find that ecology can drive brain gene expression similarities in independent transitions to monogamy across vertebrates. 

We are very excited for Tessa, who is starting her independent faculty career at the W.M Keck Science Department at Claremount McKenna College! We will miss her very much in the lab, but couldn't be happier for her! 

Congratulations to Megan Chan who just accepted a Bioinformatics Engineer Internship with Adaptive Biotechnologies, a company that focuses on developing immune system 'omics approaches in precision medicine. Great news and very well deserved! 

 

Fall 2018

Congratulations to Caitlin, who has been awarded a competitive Thesis Writing Fellowship by the College of Natural Sciences! 

Isaac passed his candidacy with flying colors! Great job! 

Congratulations!! Cassidy has been awarded an Undergraduate Research Fellowship ($1000) for her proposal, "Behavioral and Social Network Effects of Familiarity in a Highly Social Fish"! This is a great achievement and well deserved! 

Tessa Solomon-Lane has an exciting preprint out on tagging juvenile A. burtoni with a body length as small as 10mm!! Very neat methods paper to better study behavior and brain development. Check it out here.  

Great news! Mariana has been selected by the Society for Neuroscience to receive a $1000 2018 Trainee Professional Development Award to present a poster on her research at the annual SfN meeting in San Diego in November. Nice work!  

 

Summer 2018

Congratulations to Anokhi who was awarded a College of Natural Sciences Scholarship, the Charles Ely Lankford Memorial Scholarship! This is a great accomplishment! 

 

Spring 2018

Great news! Eric has been awarded the IB start-up grant in the amount of $2000, and Caitlin has received the IB travel award in the amount of $533! Congratulations!

Big congratulations to Mariana who has been awarded an IB DDIG in the amount of $8000 for her research on learning in a dynamic social context!!

Megan has been selected to receive the CNS Award for Excellence in Computational Biology / Computational Biochemistry / Computational Chemistry in the amount of $500! Congratulations, this is well-deserved!!

Congratulations to Eric for acing his PhD candidacy exam! Looking forward to some exciting scRNA-Seq experiments in the future!

Caitlin has been selected to receive the P.E.O. Scholar Award for the 2018-2019 academic year! Congratulations Caitlin!

Tessa and Caitlin were both awarded PANS Trainee Travel Award for the International Congress of Neuroendocrinology in Toronto this summer! Well done y'all!

Megan has been awarded a summer research fellowship through Texas Institute for Discovery Education in Science (TIDES) to continue her research in the lab this summer. Way to go Megan!

Ashley has accepted an undergraduate research position with Dr. Nicole Osier at Dell Med and the School of Nursing. It's an exciting opportunity that will focus on pediatric patients with traumatic brain injuries, and will allow her to integrate her interests in clinical research and data analysis to gain some great experience for future career interests. Congratulations Ashley!

Lisa and Anokhi have both been awarded Undergraduate Research Fellowships (URFs) for their research. Lisa will be looking at behavioral and neurotranscriptomic mechanisms underlying social status changes in A. burtoni, while Anokhi will be looking at transcriptomic and developmental mechanisms underlying maternally-induced growth acceleration in house finches. Great work and well deserved y'all!

Tessa Solomon-Lane, along with Travis Hagey and Alexa Warwick from MSU hosted an energizing and inspiring science communication workshop on Feb 5 at UT Austin, funded by the BEACON Center. Excellent work!

Lisa Paggeot and Anokhi Kashiparekh were each awarded Undergraduate Research Fellowships (URFs) for their research. Great work and well-deserved!

 

Fall 2017

Interested in the effects of mutation on the structure of proteins with known disease phenotypes? A new NIH website has just been released after contributions from Caitie McCafferty, a rotating Cell and Molecular Biology graduate student in our lab. Very cool! 

Great news!!! Hofmann Lab alumna Lauren O'Connell has been awarded the Frank A. Beach Young Investigator Award by the Society for Behavioral Neuroendocrinology! Wonderful to hear about this well-deserved honor!

Megan Chan has been invited to present a poster on her research at the student poster competition at the 2018 AAAS Annual Meeting in Austin. Great job Megan!!

Tessa Solomon-Lane and Hans Hofmann, in collaboration with Alexa Warwick and Travis Hagey from MSU/BEACON, have been awarded a grant from BEACON for their work broadening participation and the scope of public engagement. Great news!

Congratulations to Caitlin Friesen for receiving the Zoology Scholarship Endowment for Excellence from the UT EEB graduate program!

Tessa Solomon-Lane has a great new BEACON blog post out on framing your message and how to talk to policy. Check it out at https://www3.beacon-center.org/

 

Summer 2017

Isaac Miller-Crews has been awarded a $2000 Start-up Grant by the EEB program. Great work Isaac!!!

Congratulations to Caitlin who has been awarded an EEB Summer Fellowship!

 

Spring 2017

So happy to share that Rayna Harris has been offered a Data Science Postdoctoral Fellowship at UC Berkeley! Great work Rayna!!!

Mariana Rodriguez has been awarded a Global Research Fellowship that will help her to visit Konstanz, Germany to collaborate with Alex Jordan! Great work Mariana, we're excited for you!!

We are so excited to celebrate with Sean Maguire after he successfully defended his PhD thesis! Great job!!

Becca and Hareem both did a fantastic job presenting a poster at the Undergraduate Research Forum Symposium. Great work! Both were also awarded an Undergraduate Research Fellowship (URF)!! Congratulations!!!

Tessa Solomon-Lane helped to spearhead a great BEACON public engagement workshop. Check out her blog post to learn more! 

Excited to announce that Hareem Usmani and Becca Butler were both awareded Undergraduate Research Fellowships to support their research. Congratulations!!

Mariana Rodriguez has been awarded the Bruton Graduate School Fellowship to help subsidize her research. Great work!!

 

Fall 2016

Great news! The Hofmann lab and collaborators at MSU received $1.84 million NSF grant to pursue research studying the evolution of three-spined stickleback throughout Iceland. 

Former undergraduate Vyshnavi Karri is now a medical student at McGovern Medical School in Houston. Congratulations!

Mariana Rodriguez successfully advanced into candidacy! Now that she's finalized the planning on a number of exciting experiments, we're really looking forward to what she finds out next.

Spring 2016

Rayna Harris was awarded a $40,000 Fellowship by the Graduate School! These university-wide fellowships are very competitive and prestigious and only a handful of students even get nominated. Congrats!

Chelsea Weitekamp received a Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant (DDIG) from the National Science Foundation! This is a tremendous achievement and very much deserved!

Rayna Harris was awarded $500 from the Graduate Student Association and the Student Government in support of the 4th Annual Big Data in Biology Symposium!

Rayna Harris received a $1000 "Grants in Aid of Research Award" from the Society for Integrative & Comparative Biology in support of her thesis research!

Sylvia Garza has been offered a position at STRI in Panama to work with Richard Merrill and Chris Jiggins on Heliconius wing pattern evolution! This is a great opportunity and well deserved!



Fall 2015

Former graduate student Lauren O'Connell receives and NSF grant to support her research on the mechanisms of toxin sequestration in poison frogs!



Spring 2015

Two awesome undergrads, Vy Karri and Pamela De Valle, were awarded an Undergraduate Research Fellowship to support their exciting research!

Sean Maguire was awarded a Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant (DDIG) by the National Science Foundation!