Kaitlin Gallagher

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Doctoral Student

Voice: (860) 486-1882
Office: TLS 478
E-mail: kaitlin.gallagher@uconn.edu

Mailing address:
75 N. Eagleville Road, U-3043
Storrs, CT 06269


Education

Ph.D. Candidate (2013-Present)
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
University of Connecticut


B.A. (2009-2013)
Marine Biology
Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College of Florida Atlantic University

Research Interests

Transmission electron micrograph of a flame cell in the tapeworm Litobothrium aenigmaticum. Image by Kaitlin Gallagher.

My research falls within the fields of evolutionary biology and parasitology. Broadly, I am interested in the evolution of morphological novelty and I use tapeworms as a study system. I specifically study a small, monogeneric order of tapeworms, Litobothriidea, that infect Lamniform sharks, a group that includes thresher sharks, makos, and tiger sharks. This tapeworm order contains 8 "typical" species and one morphologically divergent species, Litobothrium aenigmaticum. The divergent species along with 3 typical litobothriidean species all infect pelagic thresher sharks in Mexico and Taiwan. L. aenigamticum appears to have evolved fairly recently and it's odd morphology is puzzling since it is found in the same shark species as other litobothriideans. I am primarily interested in the structures that underlie the novel morphology of L. aenigmaticum as well as the molecular basis for this change. I use microscopy (light, compound, SEM, and TEM) as well molecular and NextGen techniques to investigate this phenomenon. I also am a taxonomist and am working on describing and revising species within the genus Caulobothrium. In the past I have studied the parasite assemblage of fish from the Columbia River, Oregon in order to compare the parasitic of fauna of an introduced species, banded killifish, to that of two native species, peamouth and three spined stickleback. More recently I studied the prevalence, intensity, and seasonality of Bonamia, a protistan parasite that infects bivalves, in order to elucidate the scope of infection within the Indian River Lagoon, Florida.

Research Experience

2013-Present, Doctoral Student
University of Connecticut
Caira Lab, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology


2012-2013, Undergraduate Thesis Research
Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, Florida Atlantic University
Laramore Lab


2011-2012, Intern
Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, Florida Atlantic University
Laramore Lab


2011, Intern
Hatfield Marine Science Center, Oregon State University
Jacobson Lab, NOAA

Teaching Experience

Lecture Teaching Assistant, University of Connecticut
Evolutionary Biology, January 2016 - May 2016


Laboratory Instructor, University of Connecticut
Principles of Biology II, August 2013 - May 2014, January 2015 - December 2015


Administrative Teaching Assistant, University of Connecticut
Principles of Biology II, August-December 2014


Guest Lecturer, University of Connecticut
Biology 1108: Principles of Biology II, Lophotrochozoa; April 3, 2015
Evolutionary Biology, Evolution of Social Behavior; April 21, 2016

Oral Presentations at Scientific Meetings

Gallagher, K.A.*, Caira, J.N., Jockusch, E., and Wegrzyn, J. 2016. Examining morphological novelty in an enigmatic tapeworm using a comparative genomic and transcriptomic approach. Annual Meeting of the New England Association of Parasitologists, November 5th, 2016, Storrs, Connecticut.


Gallagher, K.A.*, Caira, J.N., and Cantino, M. 2016. Examining the novel internal anatomy of an enigmatic tapeworm using transmission electron microscopy. Annual meeting of American Society of Parasitologists, July 11-14th, 2016, Edmonton, Canada.


Gallagher, K.A.*, Caira, J.N., and Cantino, M. 2015. Deciphering the bizarre internal anatomy of an enigmatic tapeworm. Annual Meeting of the New England Association of Parasitologists, April 18th, 2015, North Haven, Connecticut.


Gallagher, K.A.*, Janine Caira, Marie Cantino. 2014. Description of tissue structure and function of an enigmatic tapeworm, Litobothrium aenigmaticum, using TEM. 89th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Parasitologists, July 24, 2014, New Orleans, Louisiana.


Gallagher, K.A.*, Krebs, W.D., and Laramore, S.E. 2013. Examining the effect of seasons on Bonamia spp. prevalence and infectivity in bivalves from the Indian River Lagoon. Florida Atlantic University Undergraduate Research Symposium, April 12, 2013, Jupiter, Florida.


Gallagher, K.A.*, Krebs, W.D., and Laramore, S.E. 2013. Histological Examination of PCR Positive Bonamia spp., Bivalves from Florida’s Indian River and Lake Worth Lagoons. Aquaculture 2013, 21-25 February 2013, Nashville, TN.

Poster Presentations at Scientific Meetings

Gallagher, K.A.*, Janine Caira, Marie Cantino. 2014. Examination of tissue structure and function in Litobothrium aenigmaticum using Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM). 8th International Workshop on Cestode Systematics and Phylogeny, August 19, 2014, Sao Sebastio, Brazil.


Gallagher, K.A.*, Claxton, A., and Jacobson, K. A comparison of parasite assemblages in two native and one introduced species in the Columbia River estuary: an examination of competition and trophic interactions. SACNAS, 37-30 October 2011, San Jose, California.

Awards

2017 UConn Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship

2017 Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Pre-doctoral Fellowship

2016 Meritorious Student Paper Award, Annual Meeting of the American Society of Parasitologists

2016 American Society of Parasitology Dresden Travel Award

2016 Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department Zoology Award

2015 Outstanding Student Paper – New England Association of Parasitologists

2013 Outstanding Thesis Award – Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, Florida Atlantic University

2013 3rd Place Honors College Oral Presentation Competition – Florida Atlantic University

2012-2013 FAU Undergraduate Research Grant – Florida Atlantic University

2011 Student Travel Grant, SACNAS Conference, San Jose, California

Service

2016-Present American Society of Parasitologists Student Representative

2016-Present Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Graduate Student Association, President

2016 (Nov.) Session Chair, Annual Meeting of the New England Association of Parasitologists, Storrs

2015-2016 Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Graduate Student Association, Treasurer

2015 & 2016 Graduate Student Symposium Committee Member, University of Connecticut

2014-2015 Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Senator, Graduate Student Senate

2014 (April) Session Chair, ParaINsites: From protozoa to worms, Joint meeting of New England Association of Parasitologists and the Helminthological Society of Washington, Boston.

Outreach

2016 (August) Bruce Museum Seaside Center, Science Sunday Event, "Getting to know Jaws: the biology, parasites, and impacts of sharks"

2016 (August) Bruce Museum, Science on the Silver Screen Summer Series screening of Jaws, Shark Expert Question and Answer session

2016 (April) Ask a Scientist, Windham High School

2014 (May) Educational Outreach at Franklin Elementary, Parasites role in the food web

2014 (May) Save the Frogs, Outreach event at Willimantic street festival