Melissa Leon Norena
B:S Baylor University, Cell and Molecular Biology
My research explores the mosquito’s “ecological situatedness” and the underlying mechanisms that drive mosquitoes’ interaction with their environment. I plan to contextualize chemosensory research of essential vector species impacting human health by applying a broad range of molecular, neuronal, and behavioral skills in the Riffell Lab. My interest in the chemosensory of insect vectors originated from my undergraduate research in an Arthropod Sensory Biology and Neuroethology laboratory at Baylor University, where I primarily worked with the invasive species Aedes aegypti. Throughout my time at UW, I aim to 1) Link a mechanistic and behavioral understanding of mosquitoes behavior, 2) Explore relevant questions pertaining to mosquito impact in historically underrepresented in research; and 3) Utilize writing and art as means of communicating to public audiences the nuances of insect chemical ecology.