Shaelynn Sleater-Squires

PhD Student, University of California-Los Angeles, USA

Broadly speaking, I am interested in the evolution of behavior. I am particularly curious about how genetic variation and gene regulation shape behavioral traits and how behavioral variation in individuals generates evolutionary change in populations at the molecular level. For my graduate research in the Wayne Lab, I am exploring how the genetic architecture of nonapeptide-related gene pathways contributes to social behavioral variation across canid species and also among individual wild gray wolves (Canis lupus) in Yellowstone National Park. Additionally, I am exploring differential gene expression associated with environmentally-induced stressors, especially pollutants, in wild dolphin (Delphinus and Tursiops spp.) populations using high-throughput sequencing of RNA (RNA-seq) from blubber and skin samples in collaboration with Annabel Beichman and Sergio Nigenda-Morales.

Prior to joining the Wayne Lab, I worked as a Research Associate on the Shark Bay Dolphin Project with Dr. Janet Mann. As part of my continued association with this project, I am currently investigating the use of behavioral data in estimating the length of gestation in our Shark Bay study population of Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops sp.). I obtained my B.S. in biology and psychology from Georgetown University in 2009 where I conducted my undergraduate thesis research on the genetic basis of photoperiodic diapause in the Asian tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus, with Dr. Peter Armbruster.

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