November 9, 2021
Dr. Joseph Mehus, Associate Professor of Biology at Mayville State University, Chair of the Division of Science, and Mathematics, and INBRE researcher, and two of his researchers attended the Entomological Society of America National Conference at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver, Colo. Oct. 31 through Nov. 3, 2021. Current student Taylor Painter, West Fargo, N.D., and 2021 Mayville State graduate Laura Jacobson, Finley, N.D., who have worked in the Mehus mosquito research lab for the past two years, joined Dr. Mehus on the trip.
Taylor Painter presented the Mehus research lab work on mosquito population dynamics at the national conference. This research was focused on the local mosquito species present in Traill County, N.D., and how these populations change over the summer months. The information is extremely important as it can help to determine when mosquito-borne parasites and viruses can be transmitted in the local region.
The conference provided huge networking opportunities for students. They were able to meet with like-minded researchers and make numerous connections with students and faculty.
“Most of the people I visited with were Ph.D.s or Ph.D. students, so I felt honored to present my information to them and talk with them,” said Painter. “I was able to explore some of my options for graduate school and build some good connections with principal investigators looking for future graduate students to work in their labs.”
Also at the conference, the Mayville State delegation was able to listen to and visit with entomologists and other arthropod scientists about their current research projects. The hundreds of presentations given at the conference, covered a wide variety of topics, from information on blackfly research and how to teach using interactive dichotomous keys, to the phylogenomics of Noctuidae moths.
“Being able to attend a national entomology conference was an eye-opening experience,” said Laura Jacobson. It was amazing to hear about all the different research projects that are currently taking place nationwide. I was very excited to hear other presentations related to mosquito research, since that is the type of research in which I have participated here at Mayville State during the past two years.”
The trip was funded through INBRE (IDeA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence) research grant dollars. INBRE fosters the development, coordination, and sharing of research resources, and expertise that will expand research opportunities and increase the number of competitive investigators in IDeA-eligible states. INBRE grants are intended to enhance the caliber of scientific faculty at research institutions and undergraduate schools who can attract more talented students to augment the science and technology knowledge of the state's workforce.
Summing up the experience, Taylor Painter said, “I took away a lot of new information. I am so thankful for the opportunity.”
While in Denver, Dr. Mehus, Painter, and Jacobson were able to meet up with another 2021 Mayville State graduate, Lexi Carpenter, who is attending dental school in Colorado. The group visited by Butterfly Pavilion and the Denver Aquarium.
“I am delighted to know that our students are afforded extraordinary opportunities such as this,” said Mayville State University President Dr. Brian Van Horn. “I commend Dr. Mehus for pursuing and leading grant-funded projects that are providing profound opportunities for students.”
Top: (L-r) Taylor, Painter, Lexi Carpenter, and Laura Jacobson, together with Dr. Joseph Mehus, were able to spend time catching up with one another at the Butterfly Pavilion and the Denver Aquarium.
Bottom: Taylor Painter presented the work from the mosquito research lab of Dr. Joseph Mehus at the Entomological Society of America National Conference.