Meet the Lab

Current Students
Utah Valley University

Undergraduate Students


Chloe Loveland
Fall 2021-Present

Project Title: How Do Environmental Stressors Affect Mutualistic Relationships in Thatch Ants


Chloe is an NSF STEM Biology Scholar at Utah Valley University working towards her BS in Biology. Her primary interests lie in earth, ocean, and atmospheric sciences–particularly as it applies to environmental sustainability. She also has interests in the aquatic ecosystems and ice-ocean-climate interactions. Following her undergraduate program, her goal is to pursue a graduate degree relating to conservation science and sustainable ecosystems. 

Caitlin Shirts
Spring 2022-Present

Caitlin is pursuing a B.S. in Biology after earning an MFA in Theater. In the Cusick lab, she focuses on data analysis in the study of evolutionary biology. Her writing has appeared STAT and the National Association of Science Writers Student Newsroom.


Kadin Crosby
Fall 2021-Present

Kadin is a senior at Utah Valley University, finishing his B.S. in Biology and minoring in Chemistry. His current academic interests range from biological mechanisms pertaining to cell signaling on a molecular level to aquatic diversity of aquatic invertebrate's eyes. Kadin plans on furthering his education by pursuing a graduate degree in vision science and in optometry. In addition, Kadin is a Teaching Assistant for BIOL 1010 Non-Majors Biology.

Indiana University

Undergraduate DIS Students


Kate Adaniya

Fall 2019-Present

Project Title: Assessing Consistency in Individual Aggression During Pubertal Transitions

Kate is pursuing a B.S. in Human Biology with a concentration in Human Health and Disease. Kate conducted an independent research project investigating aggressive behavior in hamsters, specifically whether individuals display consistency in aggression as juveniles and into adulthood. Kate will be attending medical school after she graduates.


Luke Gohmann

Fall 2019-Present

Project Title: Effects of seasonal cues, stress and microbiome on social behavior of non-responders”

Honors Thesis:
"Effects of maternal microbiome manipulation and stress on prefrontal cortex in adult offspring in Siberian Hamsters (Phodopus sungorus)"

Luke is a Biology major at IU and has been assisting in the Demas Lab since Fall 2019. Luke has worked on many projects and will be conducting an honors thesis studying the "Effects of maternal microbiome manipulation and stress on prefrontal cortex in adult offspring in Siberian Hamsters (Phodopus sungorus)"

Previous Students
Florida State University

Undergraduate DIS Students

Abigail Kreuser

Fall 2016-Spring 2017

Project Title: Task partitioning or division of labor? Patterns of nest maintenance in a cooperatively breeding bird

Project Title: Growth and development of brown-headed nuthatch chicks

Michelle Martin

Fall 2016

Project Title: Quality or Quantity? Provisioning differences in the cooperatively breeding brown-headed nuthatch

Miguel De Villa

Spring 2014-Summer 2014

Project Title:The relationship between breeder and helper age and parental effort in a cooperatively breeding species, the brown-headed nuthatch

Field Technicians

Amy Janik

Spring 2017

Amy was my field technician for the spring 2017 field season. In addition to assisting me collect data for my dissertation, Amy collected her own data for her independent project investigating individual variation in adult aggression in response to a snake model. Amy is now a graduate student at Western Michigan University

Simon Fitz-William

Spring 2016

Simon was my field technician for the spring 2016 field season.

Juan Botero

Spring 2015

Juan was my field technician for the spring 2015 field season. In addition to assisting me with data collection during a particularly challenging field season, Juan conducted an independent project investigating how helpers contribute to breeders during the incubation stage of reproduction. Juan received his master's degree at the College of William and Mary.

Emma Schlatter

Spring 2014

Emma was my field technician for the spring 2014 field season.

Undergraduate Research Technicians and Volunteers

Brandy Shea 

ResearchTechnician, Fall 2017-Spring 2018

Brandy assisted with our research on alloparental care and fledging behavior of brown-headed nuthatches. She graduated from Florida State University in May 2018 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biological Science and a minor in Chemistry.

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Cesar Estien

Volunteer, Spring 2018

Cesar assisted with our research on chick fledging behavior. Cesar will be starting his PhD at UC Berkeley Fall 2021! Check out more about Cesar here!

Stasia Pietraszun

Volunteer, Spring 2018

Veronica Sitaras

Volunteer, Fall 2017

Austin (Mark) Halperin

Field Volunteer, Spring 2016

Nicholas Hanley

Field Volunteer, Spring 2015

Bethany Williams

Field Volunteer, Spring 2014