McGlothlin Lab Update, 2017-2018

It’s been almost a year (363 days, to be exact) since my last news post. That doesn’t mean nothing has happened in the lab, though. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. The past year has been such a whirlwind that I haven’t been able to keep up! So here’s my attempt to catch up with what has happened in the past year.

People

If you’ve looked at the people page recently, you’ll notice the lab is fairly small right now. That’s because many of our lab members have gone on to bigger and better things.

First, former postdoc Sarah Foltz started a job as an Assistant Professor just up the road at Radford University. She’s now in the process of getting her new lab up and running. She’ll be focusing her research on the effects of urbanization on behavior and physiology and songbirds. I’m really excited for Sarah as she begins this next chapter in her career, and I’m looking forward to continuing to collaborate with her in the future!

In August, Tamara Fetters became the first Ph.D. graduate from the McGlothlin lab! She defended her dissertation, “Physiological and life-history trait variation in an invasive lizard, Anolis sagrei,” and passed with flying colors. Tamara published one chapter from her dissertation last fall. Keep an eye out for more publications to come. Tamara recently moved to North Carolina, where she’s pursuing her next step. Congrats Tamara!

Celebrating Tamara Fetters, Ph.D.!

A group of great McGlothlin Lab undergraduates, Tyler Miller, Alex Nguyen, and Madison Thammavong, graduated last year. Tyler Miller received the huge honor of being named the 2018 Outstanding Senior from the VT College of Science. Way to go!

Meetings

It’s been a really busy year for meetings. I racked up frequent flyer miles attending the American Genetic Association President’s Symposium in Toronto in March, the Yodzis Colloquium at the Canadian Society for Ecology & Evolution in Guelph, Ontario in July, and Evolution 2018 in Montpellier, France in August. Check out my tweets from #CSEE2018 and #Evol2018 for details. I had a great time at all of these meetings and met many new people. I also presented some new unpublished work on sexual dimorphism and social interactions in networks that will keep me busy writing for the next few months.

Grad student Kerry Gendreau attended SEPEEG 2017 in North Carolina, and we’re all headed to SEPEEG 2018 at Mountain Lake next month.

Papers

In addition to Tamara’s paper mentioned above, the lab has a number of new publications I’m excited about. First, in collaboration with P. O. Montiglio and Damien Farine, we published our first paper on how indirect genetic effects work in complex social networks. Collaborator Mike Logan published a paper on the quantitative genetics of thermal physiology in brown anoles, and the garter snake genome paper finally came out in Genome Biology and Evolution. See Mike’s Anole Annals post to learn more about his study. Here’s a Twitter thread I wrote about the garter snake genome, which fills in some critical pieces on the coevolutionary arms race between snakes and newts.

Finally, the first part of the Anolis G-matrix study I did as a postdoc with Butch Brodie and Jonathan Losos came out in Evolution Letters. I wrote a blog post explaining why we’re so excited about these results. Check it out.

Grants

Kerry Gendreau a recipient of a 2018 Graduate Research Excellence Grant (R. C. Lewontin Award) from the Society for the Study of Evolution. She’ll be using the funding to study the effects of sex linkage on voltage-gated sodium channel evolution. Congrats!

I am a co-PI on a new NSF-funded project led by PI Bill Hopkins in Fish & Wildlife Conservation along with co-PI Rich Helm in Biochemistry. We’re looking forward to learning about why hellbender fathers sometimes eat their young.

Other

The blog Nothing in Biology published a little piece I wrote on surviving the pre-tenure years, which tells the story of my job search and my years as an assistant professor at Virginia Tech. Luckily, I managed to make it through–I was promoted to associate professor in June!

Those are the highlights of 2017-18. I plan to spend the next year teaching, writing papers and grants, and rearing a few more lizards. I’m also recruiting a grad student or two, so contact me if you’re interested!

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