My name is Serena, and I’m the most recent addition to the Dinalab team of resident researchers! I’m a Palestinian Jordanian student at Drexel University (USA), and I’m incredibly lucky to be able to incorporate a three-month internship at the Dinalab for part of my undergraduate degree.
I’m looking forward to working with the Dinalab on interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research in environmental science. My investigations primarily address the questions:
How can we empower students with the broad knowledge types needed to tackle complex sustainability issues? How do we teach and conduct environmental science when issues of rapid environmental degradation are intimately intertwined with social injustice, political disruption, and financial inequities?
This lab’s maker space in the rainforest is the ideal place for naturalists to diversify the lenses and skillsets used to approach environmental issues. For instance, I have been learning a lot about coding and Arduinos as tools for bringing humans closer to nature, and I look forward to seeing how these new skills inform my projects on science communication in the future.
Follow along to read about my reflections and process revelations in the jungle!
Chelsea is an artist and horticulturalist living in Brooklyn, NY. Best known for her crochet costumes, Chelsea also works in a variety of other mediums including performance, installation, and live plants. Chelsea has exhibited her work both in the U.S. and abroad.
Hi everyone! I am Lieke and for the upcoming three months I will be a visiting researcher at Dinalab 🙂 My mission here is to fulfill my life long dream to become an (amateur) biologist, to learn more about trees and leaf cutter ants for example, and to combine this knowledge with my background in Media Technology. I hope to gain more skills in Arduino, 3D-printing and interaction design in general. For my own project, I am very much interested in how different animals and other organisms perceive their worlds, what these realities actually look like, and more importantly what we can learn from this. I just started with the project, so the concept and end product are still a mystery for me. However, I am super excited to work on it and see how and into what it develops!
I’m a graduate candidate at Marquette University in Wisconsin USA. I study community ecology in tropical forests primarily using trees and lianas. I’m also an embedded systems engineer and have designed various scientific sensors. At Dinalab I am working on some embedded computer vision and machine learning projects to study animal behavior.
Amy is an awesome scientific illustrator who has been spending her time in Dinalab making incredible works of art for scientists producing new papers! Check out her insta @dormantseeds and her website https://www.amykoehlerart.com/ to see the incredible stuff she makes!
Cindy works as a researcher for Rachel Page’s bat lab and Wouter Halfwerk’s frog research lab here in Gamboa. She is an incredible, reliable, hard-worker with loads of experience with animals and behavioral experimentation. She is also an amazing cook and has been supplying dinalab with an endless supply of terrific food during quarantine.
She also was responsible for keeping 1000 experimental frogs alive during the pandemic shutdown! She rocks and we will miss her!
Valerie Milici is a PhD student at UCONN researching the interactions between fungus and roots in tropical saplings.
“I’m Valerie Milici, and I study how fungal diseases that attack baby trees are super important to diversity in the tropical forest. My work takes me from the forest where I make observations and collect field samples, to the greenhouse where I perform experiments, to the lab where I grow up fungal cultures and test to see if they are the diseases attacking seedlings. I love the variation in what I do and how I need to use field skills and lab skills to answer my questions. ”
Dr. Eran Amichai joined us at Dinalab this January-February. His research is about the sensory role of whiskers in nectivorous bats’ hovering flight. Neotropical nectar-eating bats hover in front of flowers similar to hummingbirds, to feed on the nectar inside while providing pollinating services to the plant. In this project, I investigate the role of the unique arrangement of whiskers these species have, which I hypothesize provide tactile information to the bat about its exact positioning within the flower.