Rong ma.jpg
 

Dr Rong Ma

 

Education

Ph.D. Integrative Biology

          University of Texas (2017)

B.A. Biological Sciences

         Cornell University (2010)

 

Research Interests

I am interested in the mechanistic basis of behavioral plasticity, especially in the contexts of evolution and social behavior. My research combines behavioral assays, statistics, functional genomics, and gene editing to dissect the genetic and physiological factors that influence social behavior and communication, using honey bees as a model.   With colleagues in the Grozinger and Rasgon labs, I am developing novel methods to apply CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing to diverse arthropods, which will enable tests of gene function in a wide variety of contexts. We will use these methods to better understand the evolution of pheromone communication, the reproductive division of labor in social insects, and the deep conservation of genes underlying behavioral deficits between animals and humans.

 

Academic appointments                                                          

2017-Pres.

Postdoctoral Fellow – Penn State University

2016-2017

Graduate Research Intern – NSF & Smithsonian Institute

2013-2017

NSF Graduate Research Fellow

2014-2015

Teaching Assistant – UT Austin: Evolution, Comparative Animal Physiology.

2012-2013

Integrative Biology Fellow – UT Austin

2010-2011

Teaching Assistant – Weill Cornell Medical College - Qatar

 

Publications

Kardish MR, Mueller UG, Amador-Vargas S, Dietrich EI, Ma R, Barrett B, Fang CC. Blind trust in unblinded observation in ecology, evolution, and behavior. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution. 2015; 3:51. https://doi.org/10.3389/fevo.2015.00051

Ma R, Mueller UG, Rangel J. Assessing the role of β-ocimene in regulating foraging behavior of the honey bee,Apis mellifera. Apidologie, 2016. 1-10. doi: 10.1007/s13592-015-0382-x

Ma R, Villar G, Grozinger CM, Rangel J. Larval pheromones act as colony-wide regulators of collective foraging behavior in honeybees. Behavioral Ecology. 2018 Jul 4;29(5):1132-41.https://doi.org/10.1093/beheco/ary090

Ma R, Rangel J, Grozinger CM. Honey bee (Apis mellifera) larval pheromones regulate gene expression related to foraging task specialization. bioRxiv. 2019 Jan 1:587113. doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/587113