Prove It 2018 scheduled!


In July 2017, the Duffy Lab developed and taught an 8 day long course called Prove It! for high school students in the Wolverine Pathways program. Students who complete the Wolverine Pathways program and get admitted to Michigan get a full four year tuition scholarship. Our Prove It! course aimed to teach students how to use publicly available data to answer questions that they are interested in. Questions students asked included:

  • Do women appear in comic books less than men?
  • Is there a correlation between a community’s mean income and hate crimes?
  • How have liver cancer mortality rates changed over time?
  • What race has the highest percentage of being killed by police while unarmed?
  • What impact does LeBron James have on his team and teammates?

The students did a great job of learning how to access and work with data, how to refine a question into something that can be addressed with data, and how to present their results clearly.

We found the students were able to work through materials much faster than we initially anticipated, plus being spread across two weeks created some logistical problems. So, in Summer 2018, we will revise Prove It! to be 5 days long. Mary & Meghan are also going to develop related materials for students in the M-Sci Summer Academy at Michigan. We’re looking forward to Prove It 2018! UMich folks who are interested in being involved should contact Meghan (duffymeg@umich).


Wolverine Pathways/Prove It student giving a fist pump of success after plotting her data


Mary accepts job at Bowdoin!


Congratulations to Mary Rogalski, who accepted a job at Bowdoin College in Maine! Mary will be an assistant professor in Biology and Environmental Studies beginning in July 2018. We’re sad that Mary will be leaving the Duffy Lab, but also very excited for her to start this next chapter in her career! We’re also really excited that Bowdoin was enthusiastic about Mary’s work on Prove It (a course we developed for high school students in the Wolverine Pathways program).

Mary in a life jacket with a lake in the background

Nina’s thesis work appears in PNAS!


Nina Wale’s work on resource limitation preventing the emergence of drug resistance was published in PNAS in December! This publication is based on her PhD dissertation work in Andrew Read’s lab at Penn State. Ed Yong wrote a really nice piece about Nina’s work in The Atlantic. Nina worked with the press office at Penn State to create a great visual abstract of her work, shown below. Congratulations, Nina!

Graphic shows how reducing the level of a key resource can tilt the playing field in favor of pathogen genotypes that are sensitive to drug treatment

Explanation of how manipulating competition among pathogens can lead to successful treatment with traditional drugs, even where resistance to that drug is already present. (Image source)



Summer undergrads arrive!


This summer, we have four new undergrads joining the lab and, as of this week, everyone is here! Haniyeh Zamani joined us in May and is working with Katie M. on how recombination and the storage effect influences resistance of Daphnia populations. Justin Ramirez joined us this week and is working with Nina and Katie H. on projects related to a virulent bacterial parasite and to how food quality influences disease. Haniyeh and Justin are both UMich undergrads. Blenna Kiros joins us from Humboldt State and will be working with Mary on projects related to body size and disease risk. Harbria Gardner joins us from Florida A&M and will be working with Nina and Clara on projects related to pathogen diversity and how age influences disease risk. Blenna and Harbria are both taking part in the Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program and will officially start in the lab on Monday. Blenna, Haniyeh, Harbria, and Justin join Rebecca Bilich who is writing up her honors thesis on pathogen diversity and Morgan Rondinelli who is working on her honors thesis research related to the dilution effect. We’re excited to have such a great group of undergrads in the lab this summer!

We had a pizza party to celebrate the arrival of our summer undergrads and even remembered to get a lab photo. Becca and Katie H. weren’t able to make it, and Camden is off controlling and preventing diseases this summer*, but we got a photo of the rest of us!


Back row: Katie M., Clara, Blenna, Mary, Harbria, and Justin; Front row: Haniyeh, Kristel, Meghan, Nina, Morgan (missing: Becca, Camden, and Katie H.)

*Camden is doing an internship at the CDC this summer!