The Schlenke Lab
University of Arizona

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We study evolutionary genetics using Drosophila
Our lab research is rooted in evolutionary biology and genetics, but also spans several other research areas,
including ecology, immunology, cell and molecular biology, neurobiology, and bioinformatics. We are particularly
interested in host-parasite interactions, from the population level down to the cellular and molecular level. Current
work is focused on:

  • defense mechanisms (cellular and behavioral) that fruit flies use against their natural parasites
  • virulence mechanisms that parasites use to circumvent Drosophila defenses
  • how fly defense strategies and parasite virulence strategies coevolve over evolutionary time

Our lab is on the UA main campus in Tucson, AZ


Our lab is funded by the NIH and NSF. We are often looking for new postdocs, graduate students, and undergraduate students to
join the lab. Interested applicants should contact Todd with any questions.


Lab News

  • Shaun's chapter on the neurogenetics of behavioral defenses is accepted for the book Animal Behavior and Parasitism in 2022
  • We've now provided Drosophila parasitoid wasp strains to more than 50 labs around the world!
  • Kayla wins second best undergrad talk and Meagan wins second best grad student talk in their respective sessions at the 2021 Ento Conference
  • Nate's paper on self tolerance and missing-self recognition in flies is accepted at PNAS in 2021
  • Corinne accepts a lab manager position in Gaelen Burke's lab at University of Georgia in 2021
  • Todd is part of a project to establish a Drosophila parasitoid reference database that's published in Molecular Ecology Resources in 2021
  • Kayla is awarded a second year of funding through the UA UBRP program in 2021
  • Our visiting grad student Gillian's 2020 work on host lipidomics following parasitoid infection is accepted at Molecular and Cell Biology of Lipids
  • Earl accepts a postdoc position at the Los Alamos National Labs in 2020
  • Todd receives an NSF EDGE grant to study genetic manipulation of parasitoids in collaboration with Shubha Govind in 2020
  • Our visiting grad student Gillian's 2020 work on a parasitoid endonuclease venom protein is accepted at Pest Management Science
  • Reuven Dukas from McMaster University spends a (Covid-shortened) sabbatical year with us in 2020     
  • Kevin accepts an associate scientist position at the Stowers Institute for Medical Research in 2019
  • Todd is a co-organizer for the Evolutionary Ecology of Drosophila-Parasitoid Food Webs symposium at the 2018 Ento Conference
  • Michael accepts a Lecturer position at Emory University's Oxford College in 2017
  • Zach's 2017 work on how ethanol mediates fly-parasitoid interactions is accepted at PLoS One
  • The Schlenke Lab is moving to the Entomology Department at the University of Arizona in 2016!
  • Kayla takes a bioninformaticist position at Phylos Bioscience in 2016
  • Morgan lands a 2016 IRACDA postdoc position in Justin Meyer's lab at UCSD
  • Hannah completes her 2016 Reed thesis 
  • Zach's 2016 work on evolutionary tradeoffs between cellular and behavioral defenses is accepted at JEB
  • Shelly's 2015 work on infection-induced recombination (a collaboration with Nadia Singh's lab) is accepted at Science
  • Ivy and Robin complete their 2015 Reed theses
  • Todd is elected a 2014 Fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • Todd gives a pop science lecture for Science on Tap at the Kiggins Theatre in Vancouver, WA
  • Todd's NIH R01 grant is renewed in 2014!
  • Daniel, Natalie, Sara, and Shelly complete their 2014 Reed theses
  • Erin accepts a postdoc in Andrew Neish's lab at Emory and later at Bill Ja's lab at Scripps
  • Erin is now Dr. Keebaugh!
  • Erin's review on natural Drosophila-parasite interactions is accepted at Developmental and Comparative Immunology in 2014
  • Balint's paper on a novel hemocyte type in flies, nematocytes, is accepted at Parasitology in 2014
  • Nate accepts an assistant professor position at the University of Warwick and later at Illinois State
  • Daniel and Gabrielle both receive 2013 Reed Biology undergrauate research grants for their theses 
  • Todd receives an NSF grant in 2013 to study the evolution and mechanistic basis of fly defense behaviors 
  • Todd accepts a visiting associate professor position at Reed College in Portland, Oregon in 2013
  • Susanna wins second best undergrad poster and Balint wins third best grad poster at the 2013 Drosophila Conference
  • Zach gets a 2013 NSF pre-doc fellowship for his work on the evolution of immune tradeoffs in Drosophila
  • Nate's paper on a venom calcium pump blocking calcium bursts in fly blood cells is accepted at PNAS in 2013
  • Susanna gets accepted into the Biosciences PhD program at Stanford
  • Balint gets accepted into the Molecular and Cell Biology PhD program at Dartmouth
  • Balint's paper on fly alterations in oviposition behavior after seeing wasps is accepted at Science in 2013
  • Lindsey takes a job at the USDA Center for Grain and Animal Health Research in Manhattan, KS
  • Susanna wins the Genetics Society of America Victoria Finnerty Award for travel to the 2013 Drosophila Conference
  • Nate's paper on the glycosylation of lamellocytes during the encapsulation response is accepted at PLoS Pathogens in 2012
  • Susanna is accepted into the Emory SURE program for the summer of 2012
  • Balint wins second best poster at the 2012 Drosophila Conference for his work on D. suzukii
  • Balint's paper on the potential use of parasitoids in Drosophila suzukii biocontrol is accepted at PLoS One in 2012
  • Lita gets accepted into the Molecular and Cell Biology PhD program at Dartmouth
  • Neil is now Dr. Milan!
  • The alcohol paper gets international press, including a spoof in The Onion (see "press")
  • Neil and Balint's paper on fly use of ethanol as anti-wasp medication is accepted at Current Biology in 2012
  • Thierry's paper on fly behavioral avoidance of wasp-infested oviposition sites is accepted at Biology Letters in 2012
  • Erin's paper on lectin-24a expression and evolution is accepted at MBE in 2012
  • Erin wins a 2011 ARCS Fellowship for her work on the molecular genetics of the candidate anti-wasp protein Lectin-24a 
  • Rahul is awarded an independent research grant from the Emory 2010 SIRE program
  • Balint wins best poster at the 2010 Emory undergraduate research symposium
  • Neil receives an NSF dissertation improvement grant in 2010 for his work on the horizontal transfer of TEs from flies to wasps
  • Todd receives an NIH R01 in 2009 to study the genetics and molecular biology of the fly-wasp system
  • Todd is a co-organizer for the 2009 Southeastern Population Ecology and Evolutionary Genetics conference
  • Amit and Ethan are both awarded independent research grants from the Emory 2008 SIRE program
  • Our visiting undergrad from Kenyon College, Mark Luskus, wins “best poster” in Emory’s 2008 summer research program
  • Neil wins “best student talk” at the 2008 Parasitology Society Meeting in Fort Worth
  • Todd’s graduate work on transposon-mediated insecticide resistance makes Evolutionary Analysis and other textbooks
  • Neil receives a 2007 FACES tuition scholarship
  • Stephanie is awarded an independent research grant from the Emory 2006 SIRE program 


Last updated February 2022