London Bug Day!

This year I had the pleasure of organizing the 5th annual London Bug Day, hosted by the Entomological Society of Ontario! London Bug Day is a city-wide, all ages, insect-filled day of fun where we use various outreach activities to teach the public about the importance of our six-legged friends. This year we had over 650 visitors come see us at the London Children’s Museum, where kids and families learned how to ID insects, race our madagascar hissing cockroaches, and not-so-shamefully inhaling handfuls of crunchy flavored crickets (thanks to Entomo Farms for the hook-ups..mexican cheddar is my personal fav). With the help of 25 eager grad students, several faculty, the Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory  and our trusty in house stick insects, our event was one to remember! It was a blast to plan and attend, and a great testament to how universally exciting and educational the world of insects really is.


One of our worker bee grad students, John, showing off his mad ID skillz




Summer happenings

Last time I checked the calendar it was still May, so I have no idea where this summer has gone. Time flies when you’re having fun in the lab! Here are some of the things I’ve been up to this summer:

Hiking up to signal hill in St. John’s

May – I attended my fourth meeting for the Canadian Society of Zoologists, which is my favourite meeting to attend! This year I got to travel to windy St. John’s, where I met up with old friends, made some new connections, and surprisingly did not get sea sick on my iceberg watching boat tour. I presented my current work on how heat shock proteins mitigate cold stress in my favorite beetle model, and got screeched in at the Yellow Belly Brewery (a must for anybody reading this who happens to be travelling out east!).

June – I spent most of June prepping samples of tissue for RNA sequencing, where I will hopefully discover some interesting differences in gene expression betweel diapausing, and cold-tolerant beetles. My samples passed Genome Quebec’s quality control with flying colours, and thus I spent most of my July drinking good beer on patios… just kidding. Only part of it.

July – Aside from my beer consumption, I spent this month learning the in’s and out’s of Western blots – which is an important skill set to have for any budding physiologist. I’m not sure if it was my good mood (from said beer drinking) or mad lab skillz, but my first attempt turned out beautifully and I can’t wait to probe for alllll the proteins!

Plans for August – Keep drinking that beer, and enjoy my last month of uninterrupted lab days before the fall semester starts and I acquire two honour’s students and an entomology course, and lose all that beer drinking time.