Katie is a postdoctoral research associate in the MEEP Lab and is hosted by Nate Lo and Simon Ho.
Katie completed her PhD in 2013 under the supervision of Nate Lo and Stephen Simpson at the University of Sydney. Her thesis examined the genetic mechanisms governing behaviour in plague locusts. Contrary to popular perception, locusts often display solitarious behaviour, where individuals actively avoid each other. Under particular environmental conditions however, locusts undergo a transition to a gregarious phenotype. This pronounced example of phenotypic plasticity is correlated with the formation of locust swarms, which represent a serious economic problem. Previous research by others has identified genes that may be involved in this shift in behaviour. Katie’s work focussed on DNA methylation and its role in controlling the expression of these genes in response to environmental stimuli.