Saltz lab takes over the Rice Undergrad Research Symposium!

Ok, “takes over” might be a little much, but the lab was represented by 3 excellent posters:

Sam and Maddy present the results of our aggression work.  I dare you to find someone who doesn’t want to hear what happens when you give flies drugs.

rurs_maddy and sam

Raleigh just started a new experiment on re-mating behavior.  He’s already seen lots of variation among individuals!rurs_raleigh

Ben wasn’t able to get flies to learn using a positive associative conditioning assay that has been used by other labs–but it was not for lack of trying.  He plans to start a new independent project next year.


Great job, everyone.


New paper!

Our new paper, What, if anything, is a social niche? is now published in Evolutionary Ecology.  Extra congratulations to awesome undergrad co-authors Raleigh Anderson, Ben Anderson, and Rachel Marren!

Check it out, and tell us your thoughts:

Looking for a postdoc

Hi, do you want to be a postdoc in the Saltz lab?  Admit it, you totally do.  Well, great news, we’re hiring a postdoc!  For details and instructions go here.  Please poke around the website to find out about our work, and then feel free to contact me with questions (

Saltz Lab Pooter Olympics 2015

The 2015 Saltz Lab Annual Pooter Olympics was our biggest and best yet!  7 undergraduates and 1 graduate student competed on Team Drosophila and Team Melanogaster for victory!  Lab Manager Adam and I served as referees.

pooter olympics 2

Adam explains the rules of the Pooter Olympics, which makes sense because he also made them up.

Ready, set, POOT:

pooter olympics1

Eric and Francie execute advanced pooting techniques

In the end, team Drosophila won.  But really everyone won by practicing their fly handling skills!  Or really I win because I have these awesome people in my lab (cheesy but true).

pooter olympics 5

Saltz Lab Fall 2015!  From left: Sam Gao, Eric Wice, Adam Geiger, Ben Johnson, Francie Hessel, Maddy Adams, Stephanie Zhao, Raleigh Adams, and Isabel Deakins.


Spring semester happenings

IMG_1819We are wrapping up a busy semester, and our first experiment.  Undergraduate researchers Rachel and Ben (above), and Francie and Meghan (below), took the UH Evolution & Ecology Symposium by storm!  Rachel and Ben’s poster was honored with Distinction–they got free books!

Ben was also recently awarded a Summer Undergraduate Fellowship Award, to continue conducting research in the lab this summer.  The award is funded by the BioSciences Department, and by generous private donors.  Thank you donors!

IMG_1816  This summer, we will be joined by Pranay, a high school volunteer; Nora, an REU Bionetworks student; and the first ever Saltz lab Ph.D. student (!!!), Eric Wice!  See the People (et al) page for more about Saltz Lab members.

An online early copy of Brad Foley’s paper (that I co-authored) using Approximate Bayesian Computation methods to mathematically model social niche construction is finally available on Am Nat’s website.  This work inspired us to measure the genetic correlation between males and females in their social preference across densities.  Final data collection tomorrow!

If you are attending ABS 2015 in Anchorage, I will be speaking on Sunday, June 14, in the Behavioral Plasticity I section.  Please stop by and say hi!



Awesome undergrad co-authors!

I just submitted our new paper, “What, if anything, is a social niche?” as an invited submission to Evolutionary Ecology.  Lab manager Adam Geiger, and undergraduate researchers Raleigh Anderson, Ben Johnson and Rachel Marren, worked with me on the paper from the very beginning, and earned co-authorship for their contributions.  They were fantastic co-authors!  Evidence of their hard work can be seen in Rachel’s life-changing post-it note/whiteboard flow chart.

Photo Feb 20, 3 48 09 PM


Life changing!!!

Looking forward to many more exciting submissions soon.  Go Saltz Lab!

New semester!

Hello 2015!  The Saltz Lab is now in its second semester.

This year we’ll be finishing old experiments, starting some new directions, and hopefully welcoming some new folks to the lab.  Please check out the join page if you’d like to be one of them!  cropped-picture1-e1398977682969.png

In other animal behavior news, NSF came out with a new white paper about the future of Integrative Animal Behavior studies.  I’ve added a link to it on the resources page.  There is a table of workshops and courses for graduate students, on page 14, that seems quite useful.

Also this semester, I will be co-teaching EBIO 321, Animal Behavior, with Dr. Emily Jones.  I can guarantee some over-excited diatribes about behavior… by at least one of us…

Happy New Year!