Charlotte Barkan is a neurobiologist interested in how brains generate behavior and evolve. Her research program explores how evolution tinkers with neural circuits to lead to behavioral diversity across species. The lab will investigate the evolution of vocal communication in Xenopus frogs using electrophysiology, genetic, and behavioral approaches to examine the neural basis of courtship call production and female auditory preferences.
Caitlyn Bowman-Cornelius is a biochemist who studies metabolism at key transitions of the mammalian life cycle, including pregnancy and early postnatal life. Her lab will explore questions about maternal and neonatal metabolic fuel utilization: How do young mammals prepare to switch from heavy prenatal reliance on carbohydrates to a high-fat milk diet after birth? What changes in the mother’s metabolism support that transition? Are these adaptations conserved across species? How do other metabolites participate in this maternal-fetal communication? The lab uses biochemistry, physiology, and analytical chemistry to explore these questions in mammalian metabolic regulation.
Gordon Smith is an ecologist interested in the role of within-species variation in species interactions, especially plant-pollinator mutualisms. His research explores questions such as how small differences scale up to affect whole plant-pollinator networks and how pollinator behavior has changed over historical time. At Williams, his work will focus on the consequences of variation in plant-pollinator interactions using field work (including in museum collections), computational analyses, and behavioral experiments with hawkmoths.