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Principal investigator, Antónia Monteiro

Evolutionary Developmental Biology

Associate Professor, 2013, National University of Singapore and Yale-NUS-College
Assistant Professor, 2006 Yale University
Assistant Professor, 2001-2006, University at Buffalo
Postdoctoral work, 1998-2001, Leiden University
Postdoctoral work, 1997-98, Harvard University
PhD, 1997, Edinburgh University

Contact information:

Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore, 14 Science Drive 4
Singapore 117543
Yale-NUS-College, 6 College Avenue East,
Singapore 138614
tel: + 65 660 12108
Current lab members:
Postdoctoral fellow Mainak Das Gupta is trying to identify the cis-regulatory elements of eyespot genes expressed during the larval and pupal stages of development using FAIRE-Seq.
PhD student Nesibe Ozsu is identifying members of the eyespot gene regulatory network during early pupation using RNA-seq. She is also testing the role of wingless in eyespot development.
Postdoctoral fellow Emilie Dion is describing the chemical profile of wings of dry season and wet season B. anynana butterflies. She is collaborating with Joanne Yew at TLL, Singapore, to obtain a 2D spatial image of the chemical profile of the wings.
PhD student Shivam Bhardwaj is comparing mechanisms of eyespot plasticity across nymhalid butterflies.
Honors student Melissa Teo Hui Jing is working on the molecular basis of sexual dimorphism in butterflies.
Undergraduate student Jonathan Peh Jun Jie is testing whether learned preferences can be passed on to the next generation.
Honors student Zhe Ching Ngan is testing whether butterflies with more eyespots on the ventral surface have a survival advantage in interactions with invertebrate predators.
Postdoctoral fellow Katy Prudic tested why males and females both have "ornaments", i.e., eyespots, on the hidden surfaces on their wings. She showed that both sexes display these eyespots to the opposite sex during courtship. This behavior is phenotypically plastic, however, and wired during larval/pupal development. Males court females in the wet season while females court males in the dry season. Katy is now studying the role of insect predators in maintaining the phenotypically plastic ventral wing patterns in Bicyclus anynana and examining the physiological mechanisms underlying eyespot size and brightness plasticity.


Former lab members



Postdoctoral fellow Bethany Wasik worked on an artificial selection experiment to produce violet structural colors on the wings of B. anynana. She also worked on the positional cloning of an eyespot network "switch" locus, Spotty, using RAD-tag markers.
Undergraduate student Stacey Yuen tesed the function of a very interesting wing pattern in a local moth species using manipulations in paper models and natural predators.
Graduate student Ashley Bear explored the (neuro)physiological and genetic basis of courtship reversals induced by environmental temperature in male and female Bicyclus anynana. She previously worked on the physiological/behavioral traits of a dark larval color mutation also in Bicyclus .
April Dinwiddie Graduate student April Dinwiddie worked on the development of structural colors in butterfly wings. She is also interested in exploring the evolution and development of wing scales across insects.
Undergraduate student Chris Tokita performed a survey of eyespot sexual dimorphism across 450 species of Nymphalid butterflies and discovered that females, on average, have more eyespots than males, and that "hidden" dorsal and forewing surfaces are disproportionately more dimorphic than "exposed" ventral hindwing surfaces.
Graduate student Erica Westerman worked on the role of learning in shaping female preference for novel male wing patterns. She showed that females don't have fixed preferences for males with particular wing patterns and can learn to prefer males with novel patterns. She also showed that smell is an important mediator of visual learning.
Postdoctoral fellow Xiaoling Tong tested the function of the hox gene Ultrabithorax in regulating eyespot patterns in Bicyclus anynana. She used transgenic tools to down-regulate Ubx at different times during development. Xiaoling also described the expression of Ecdysone Receptor (EcR) on the wings of Bicyclus anynana.
Postdoctoral fellow Jeffrey Oliver mapped the evolution of eyespots on the phylogeny of nymphalid butterflies. He also did comparative gene expression work in a variety of nymphalid species to understand the evolution of the eyespot developmental gene network. He discovered that eyespots evolved once, at the base of the nymphalid clade, and that many of the genes associated with early eyespot development were probably co-opted as a cluster, from a preexisting network.
Graduate student Karin van der Burg completed her MS degree in the lab. She examined how the expression of Wingless and Decapentaplegic were alterered by over-expression of Ultrabithorax in early pupal wings.
Andrew Everett Undergraduate student, Andrew Everett described eye sexual dimorphism and morphological plasticity in Bicyclus anynana across a temperature gradient.
Joseph Walker Visiting undergraduate student, Joseph Walker, from Purdue University worked on black spot formation in the Cabbage White Butterfly, using classic cell ablation techniques in live pupal wings.
Postdoctoral fellow Andrew Stoehr developed functional genetic tools for the Pieris rapae in order to understand the developmental basis of phenotypic plasticity in this species. He also performed comparative gene expression work across the Pieridae.
Visiting Ms student, Carole Bastianelli, from Lyon, France worked on describing the expression dynamics of the Ecdysone Receptor in Bicyclus wings of the wet and dry seasonal forms. This work will help us understand how the endocryne system evolved to regulate a classic seasonal polyphenism in a butterfly wing pattern.
Undergraduate student Anna Lindemann worked on the role of the hedgehog signaling pathway in differentiating eyespot centers.
Paleontology graduate student Joanna Wolfe is interested in understanding the evolution of the short anterior pair of legs of nymphalid butterflies (the brushfoots), both at the molecular level and through the fossil record.
Paul Shamble photographed most of the nymphalid butterflies in the collection at the Peabody Museum (~1500 species). This will allow us to answer many questions about the evolution of wing patterns in this group using the comparative method.
Postdoctoral fellow Ondrej Podlaha tested the function of the hox gene Ultrabithorax in regulating eyespot patterns in Bicyclus anynana. He used transgenic tools to over-express Ubx at different times during development and characterized both Ubx mRNA expression and the adult wing pattern phenotype. He is interested in molecular evolution and in testing ideas of gene network co-option at the empirical level.
Rotating graduate student Andrea Hodgins-Davis worked on the role of prior experience in female mate choice.
Undergraduate student Robert Tunney worked on the developmental evolution of eyespots in local CT nymphalid butterfly species.
Undergraduate student, Ariel Simons, from the University of Rochester, worked out the genetics of a new spontaneous mutation in our stock that produces a dark larval cuticle. She visited us during the summer of 2008.
Undergraduate student Lee Driftmier tested the role of the sexually dimorphic black spots on the wings of Pieris rapae in the context of female choice.
Graduate student Diane Ramos worked on the development of a laser-mediated heat-shocking mechanism that enables the spatial control of transgene expression on the pupal wing. She cloned several copies of the Engrailed gene and tested their localization using in-situs. She tested the role of over-expressing the transcription factor Spalt in vein and eyespot development.
Visiting scientist, Bin Chen, cloned a series of transcription factors from B. anynana in order to test their function in wing and color pattern development. He also developed new piggyBac vectors for both ectopic expression as well as gene knockdown via transgenic RNAi.
Graduate student Kendra Roberston tested whether color pattern differences on the wings of males have an effect on female preference.

Kendra also mapped the evolution of wing patterns of 54 of the 80 members of the genus Bicyclus on the phylogeny of the genus.

Jessica Decker was a visiting student from the Concordia College Moorhead in Minnesota who worked in the lab during the Summer 2007 on sexual selection in Pieris butterflies.
Lisa Fazzino was a visiting high-school student from Wallinford, CT, who helped us gather functional data for some transgenic lines of Bicyclus. She and Jessica also worked together on developmental perturbations of Pieris wing patterns.
Undergraduate student Mark Fisher tested the role of behavioral plasticity in female choice in Bicyclus anynana
Graduate student, Gary Glaser, cloned the wingless gene from B. anynana and determined that this gene is expressed in the eyespot centers in developing pupal wings using antibody stainings.
Graduate student, Firdous Kamal, from the Department of Electrical Engineering, developed a new laser system in order to heat-shock the pupal wing epidermis of Bicyclus anynana without killing the cells.
Graduate student, Katie Costanzo, worked on the relative role that male phenoromes and visual signals play in female choice in Bicyclus anynana.
Graduate student, Kyle Golden, worked on developing a "fast" method to introduce genes into wing epidermal cells, using in-vivo electroporation.
Min Undergraduate student, Min Guo, worked on testing the role of Distal-less in eyespot development.
Undergraduate student, Andrew Goldman, continued working on the color learning ability of young virgin female butterflies, and how early experience with particular color patterns influences subsequent mate choice.
Undergraduate student, Taid Rahimi, worked on the color learning ability of young virgin female butterflies, and how early experience with particular color patterns influences subsequent mate choice.
Undergraduate student, Veena Raju, helped develop a "fast" method to introduce genes into wing epidermal cells, using in-vivo electroporation.
Graduate student, Sara Kremmer, worked on an educational-research project. She helped develop a new course syllabus for the Evolutionary Genetics course that integrates quiz questions, homework and class exercises to improve student learning.
Undergraduate student, Sam Arbesman, worked on a web based animation (Ancient Wings) that reconstructs the putative ancestral wing patterns of 54 of the 80 species of Bicyclus butterflies, and morphs these patterns across the phylogenetic tree of Bicyclus.
Undergraduate student, Steven Stockslager, worked on the effect of wing damage on the activation of certain transcription factors around the site of damage. Damage ultimately results in the production of an ectopic eyespot on the wings.
Undergraduate honors student, Nathan Markwarth, worked on developing a "fast" method to introduce genes into wing epidermal cells, using in-vivo electroporation.
Undergraduate student, Laura Blodgett, visiting from Rochester University, worked with paper models of Bicyclus butterflies to determine to what extent males detect conspecifc females based on visual cues.
Undergraduate student, Jarod Masci, developed a new protocol to dechorionate eggs and visualize the early embryos of B. anynana. He co-authored a paper, as first author, in the journal Zygote.
Undergraduate student, Sashti Balasundaram, together with rotating graduate student, Nathan Kirk, developed a protocol for artificially inseminating B. anynana butterflies, using whole spermatophore transfers into virgin females.
Undergraduate student, Laura Falkowski, tested whether the presence of extra eyespots on the dorsal surface of the wings of B. anynana males is more attractive to females relative to the wild type pattern.
Undergraduate student, Lauren Scott, tested the effects of two mutations, Missing and Spotty, when in homozygote and heterozygote condition, and when present simultaneously in the same genome. She found that each mutation is codominant relative to wildtype and influences both the fore and hindwing pattern of Bicyclus anynana. These mutations also display an epistatic effect when present together in the genome.
Jeff_Marcus Postdoctoral Fellow Jeffrey Marcus developed the first line of transgenic butterflies.