Community Spotlights

We are an interdisciplinary hub of scholars studying plants, microbes, neuroscience, cellular development, evolution, ecology, & biodiversity at Washington University in St. Louis. 

We are Biology. 

Monthly Highlight

Kim Medley

I grew up in rural southwest Missouri on a dairy farm outside a very small town named Elkland. We worked hard tending the land and the cattle, and when we weren’t working, I would sneak off into the woods where I would sit and observe nature: the way the leaves dropped off the trees, the movement of the birds and squirrels in the canopy, and the sound of the water bubbling in the 1storder stream when it was flowing in the spring. In particular, I love insects and have always been fascinated by the microscopic world. No matter how basic the research question may be, having a better understanding of mosquito ecology and evolution can lead to improved vector control and disease mitigation efforts. That’s why I chose to work in this system: you can ask really interesting, basic research questions that have pretty clear implications in the “real-world.” Being a scientist, to me, means pursuing research questions that can push fundamental scientific knowledge forward while also advancing the ability of humanity to live sustainably as a part of natural systems. It also means constantly observing the world around you and looking for patterns and mechanisms, no matter how seemingly insignificant, and communicating our findings to the public in a way that is interesting and digestible—this part is key.

“Being a scientist is about finding out all of these little secrets that are in the natural world that you cannot see with your eyes. For example, one insect I worked on is a major crop pest that destroys fields of squash and watermelon. But it can’t survive without this tiny microbe inside of it. By just looking at it, you would never guess that was the case. To me, it is just fun to be privy to all of these little secrets and to discover new ones and to figure out how our world really works.”

―Justine GarciaPostdoctoral Research Associate

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