Hoover Fellowship

2021 Hoover Fellow: Megan Freiler

Megan Freiler is a fifth-year Ph.D. candidate in Associate Professor Troy Smith's lab, where she studies the neuroendocrine mechanisms that underly differences in social communication across species of weakly electric knifefish. Her research uses an integrative approach that utilizes techniques from behavioral neuroscience, endocrinology, and molecular biology in order to understand how steroid hormones and the expression of neuromodulator receptor genes influence the sex- and context-dependent perception of electric signals.

In addition, Megan enjoys mentoring undergraduates at IU and through CISAB’s summer REU program. She is also involved with IU’s Foundations in Science and Mathematics program, which offers summer courses to local middle and high school students.

The Hoover fellowship will support her while she completes her remaining experiments for her dissertation and begins to work on publishing her research.

2021 Hoover Fellow: Kayleigh Hood

Kayleigh Hood is a sixth-year Ph.D. candidate in Professor Laura Hurley's lab, where she studies the role of serotonin in the perception of female reproductive signals in male mice. Her research integrates novel behavioral techniques with physiology to understand how fluctuations in serotonin in the auditory midbrain relate to male behavior as males respond to playbacks of female rejection vocalizations.

In addition to research, Kayleigh enjoys teaching in the classroom, lab, and community. Besides teaching several undergraduate biology courses, she has mentored undergraduates through the CISAB, CEW&T, and LSAMP research programs. Kayleigh has also been involved in outreach, creating activities related to neuroscience and social behavior for Science Fest and Unionville Elementary School’s 2018 Science Night.

The Louise Constable Hoover Fellowship will support Kayleigh as she completes her dissertation and publishing the findings from that research.

2021 Hoover Fellow: Katie Talbott

Katherine “Katie” Talbott is a fourth-year Ph.D. student in Distinguished Professor Ellen Ketterson's lab, where she uses both field and lab-based approaches to study the impact of avian malaria parasitism on reproductive behavior and physiology of Dark-eyed Juncos. Katie enjoys opportunities to foster science literacy and an appreciation for wildlife. At IU, this takes the form of undergraduate instruction as an associate instructor, participating in the annual Science Fest program, and contributing to the ScIU science blog. She is especially active in mentoring undergraduate researchers, including those in the Research Scholar Cohort Program and Center for Integrative and Comparative Biology’s Research Experience for Undergraduates. She also advocates for IU students in the Evolution, Ecology, and Biology Graduate Program as a member of EEB Org.

This award will support an ongoing project investigating the association of Plasmodium infection with junco reproductive success, using a long-term dataset. It will also support Katie in a field-based collaboration this summer with undergraduate researcher Kaitlyn Ross, investigating the relationship between natural Plasmodium infections and fertility indices in Indiana-breeding male songbirds.