Fox Lab @ CWRU

How do sensory systems collect, process, and transmit information? How do fast-moving animals process sensory information at high speeds to coordinate their behavior? How do different sensory modalities interact with each other? How have sensory systems evolved to handle the challenges they are faced with in complex environments?

We study insect sensory systems using quantitative behavioral techniques, electrophysiology, computational modeling, and high-speed videography.

Fox lab, December 2022: Of course we always wear lab coats!

 L-R: Jeremy Didion,  Kris Lea, Jessica Fox, Ibra Seck, Lesley Armah. Not pictured: Ananya Hari, Nobel Zhou. 

Lab news:

April 2024: Mike's 2nd paper accepted at Proceedings B; Jess wins the CWRU Jackson Award for undergraduate mentoring; med school acceptances for Lesley (CWRU) and Nobel (Columbia U); high school student Ayesha Faruki wins first place at NEOSEF

January 2024: Undergrads Lesley and Nobel give talks at SICB in Seattle; Jess's opinion paper (shared with five other friends from our time at KITP) published in J Exp Biol

August 2023: Our first NIH grant! We're part of an ambitious U01 grant with colleagues from Cornell, Princeton, Vanderbilt, Johns Hopkins, and USCB on multi-sensory integration.

July 2023: We celebrated our first ten years, and our triumphant return to our lab space after the flood, the only way we know how: with cake.

May 2023: Postdoc Amy Streets joins the lab; Kris passes her quals; Ibra & Ananya graduate; Jess wins the Students' Choice: Outstanding Faculty award (thanks bio dept undergrads!)

January 2023: Jeremy, Kris, and Ibra give talks at the annual SICB meeting in Austin; Kris wins Best Student Presentation! 

June 2022: Lab alum Alex Yarger wins a Young Investigator Award from the International Society for Neuroethology; Jess is promoted to Professor; undergrads Lesley Armah and Ananya Hari win summer research fellowships

March 2022: High school student Sasha Turner won the grand prize in the biological sciences division at the Northeast Ohio Science and Engineering Fair and will go on to the international competition in Atlanta!

April 2021: CONGRATULATIONS DR. RAUSCHER! Mike defends his dissertation and will go on to a postdoc with Gabby Wolff right upstairs from our lab. In related news, we'll welcome new PhD student Kristianna Lea (BS in entomology from Cornell) in the fall!

April 2021: Jesse Fritz will start a master's degree in integrative biology at Oregon State in the fall! Welcome to new technician Lauren Metz!

April 2021: Undergrad Katie Jordan will start her PhD in neuroscience this fall at UC Davis!

January 2021: New paper by Mike Rauscher in Proceedings B

January 2021: New paper out from Alex Yarger with undergrads Katie Jordan and Alexa Smith, in Proceedings B.  Alex was interviewed by New Scientist; Jess was on NPR's All Things Considered 

December 2020: New review on campaniform sensilla, with lab friends Brad Dickerson and Simon Sponberg

November 2020: Some of our videos are featured in this article from KQED

October 2020: We took an afternoon out of the lab each week this month to help load boxes of food into cars for the Farmers to Families program in Cleveland Heights.

May 2020: A collaborative grant with Kati Daltorio in Mechanical Engineering will be funded by AFOSR; high school student Anya Razmi graduates and will head to Yale; Alex Yarger will be a postdoc in Huai-Ti Lin's lab at Imperial College London (as soon as the UK reopens)

May 2020: Undergrads winning prizes: Alexa wins the Flora Stone Mather Alumnae Award and Katie Jordan wins the Junior-Senior Scholarship!

March 2020: CONGRATULATIONS DR. YARGER! The lab's first PhD student successfully defends her dissertation and dents the ceiling tile.

March 2020: Mike Rauscher wins 3rd place in the Art of STEM

January 2020: Anya is a finalist in the Regeneron Science Talent Search; Alex and Tasha present research at SICB in Austin

Fox Lab at SICB in Austin, January 2023

Lab alums at the Neuroethology GRC in Vermont, August 2023

Mike's thesis defense, April 9 2021. 

Denting the ceiling tile with a champagne cork in celebration

December 2019: Senior capstone student Alexa Smith wins first place at CWRU's Intersections research symposium!

October 2019: Postdoc Jeremy Didion joins the lab

August 2019: Alex wins third place in the Best Student Paper competition in the biology department, and a grant from the Marine Biological Laboratory to extend a research project she started in Woods Hole

June 2019: Jess is promoted to associate professor with tenure

May 2019: Anya's poster wins the Research ShowCASE High School Award and a renewable $20,000/year scholarship to CWRU; Noah leaves for Arizona; Alex heads to the Neural Systems & Behavior course in Woods Hole

April 2019: Super tech Noah DeFino wins an NSF GRFP fellowship! Congrats Noah!

April 2019: New paper on finite element modeling of halteres, a collaboration with Tom Daniel's lab at UW, is in press at Journal of the Royal Society Interface

March 2019: Noah DeFino will be a PhD student in the department of entomology & insect science at the University of Arizona! In related news, welcome to new technician Jesse Fritz!

February 2019: Nick Kathman's paper on haltere and visual sensory integration in the central complex is in press at the Journal of Neuroscience

January 2019: Jess and her husband James welcome twin babies, John and Henrietta.  Jess will be on leave until summer; contact lab members if you need us.

January 2019: Mike Rauscher and Noah DeFino present the latest work at SICB in Tampa

September 2018: Alex Yarger's paper on single haltere sensory cells is on the cover of Proceedings of the Royal Society!

August 2018: Mike Rauscher wins the Westin Award for Outstanding Teaching; Brice Bai leaves us to start her freshman year at Yale; Nick moves to NYU to start a postdoc in the Nagel lab

July 2018: Our collaborative article with Kati Daltorio (CWRU Mechanical Engineering) is published and featured in Inside JEB

June 2018: Nick Kathman wins a prestigious Young Investigator Award from the International Society for Neuroethology! He'll be traveling to Brisbane to present his central complex research.

June 2018: It's summertime! Welcome to SOURCE undergrads Tasha Johnson and Chenxin Bi, and high school student Anya Razmi.

 Top row, L-R: Nick Kathman, Mike Rauscher, Tasha Johnson, Chenxin Bi

On the bench, L-R: Noah DeFino, Anya Razmi, Jess Fox, Alex Yarger

May 2018: Alex wins a Heiligenberg award to travel to the ICN conference in Brisbane in July

May 2018: Mike's review article on inertial sensors is in press at Integrative and Comparative Biology; Jess has a new research article in press at JEB with engineering colleague Kati Daltorio

May 4, 2018: You can catch Jess on Jeopardy tonight! No spoilers, but the interview with Alex Trebek is all about insect brains.

                 Update: Jess totally lost, but here's a video of the interview.

April 2018: Nick Kathman wins the first place Postdoctoral Research Award and Alex Yarger wins an honorable mention for posters at Research ShowCASE

April 2018: A big month for outreach! Jess will be talking about our research at the Science Cafe at the Music Box Supper Club in the Flats on April 9 at 7pm. The whole lab will be at Think & Drink with the Extinct at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History on April 18; come by to see flies in action! Finally, Jess will be helping to identify local bugs at the City Nature Challenge on April 28.

Update: Photos from Think & Drink!  Left: Mike, Rachel, and Chenxin explain fly virtual reality. Middle: Alex demonstrates high-speed videography to a seven year old future entomologist. Right: Rachel shows some fly videos taken in our lab.

March 2018: The Fox lab SWEPT the awards at the Biology Graduate Research Symposium! Congrats to Mike Rauscher for Best Talk and Alex Yarger for Best Poster.

March 2018: We're featured in this video about our partnership with Hathaway Brown School:

January 2018: The lab is excited to be part of the Beckman Scholars Program for undergraduate research

January 2018: We had a great time at SICB in San Francisco! Five talks from our lab, and we got to hang out with lab alum Shwetha!

December 2017:  Our projects on gaze control in fruit flies will be funded by the National Science Foundation!

October 2017: Bugs + Cleveland + baseball: Jess is interviewed in the New York Times

September 2017: Alex wins the best student paper award from the CWRU Biology Department

August 2017: Our lab briefly became a film studio as Brice was featured in a short documentary about the Science Research and Engineering Program at Hathaway Brown.

June 2017: Rachel DeFino joins the lab as our new technician; Xiaoyu Shen joins as an undergraduate student; Ilakkiya graduates; Alex returns from her AFOSR-funded trip to Holger Krapp's lab in London

April 2017: Ilakkiya successfully defends her undergraduate honors thesis and wins 3rd prize in the Michelson-Morley competition on the same day; Mike Rauscher crushes his PhD qualifying exam

April 2017: We had a great time at Think & Drink with the Extinct at CMNH!

March 2017: Our paper on halteres and gaze control was accepted at J Exp Biol- congrats to authors Shwetha Mureli, Ilakkiya Thanigaivelan, and Michael Schaffer.

March 2017: Alex Yarger wins the Best Student Presentation award at the CWRU grad student symposium AND Brice Bai wins an award from the Office of Naval Research for her poster!

February 2017: Jess's comparative haltere anatomy paper (with Sweta Agrawal and David Grimaldi) is published. One of Sweta's SEM images is on the cover!

January 2017: Nick presents at SICB in New Orleans; Ilakkiya is accepted to medical school; Jess is back from maternity leave

August 2016: Welcome new PhD student Michael Rauscher

July 2016: Alex Yarger's review article on halteres is published

May 2016: Jess and her husband James welcome a daughter, Leita! Jess is technically on leave, which means that BIOL 321 is on hiatus this fall, but she'll still be around the lab.

April 2016: Congrats to new PhD candidate Alex Yarger on passing her qualifying exams!

March 2016: High school student Brice Bai wins a prize for her poster at the Hathaway Brown SREP spring event from the American Psychological Association

March 2016: Darius Williams joins the lab as our fearless fly caretaker; Jess and Nick give talks at East Coast Nerve Net and Janelia Research Campus

February 2016: An article about our research appears in the Case Observer

January 2016: We are so excited that our work on haltere information processing will be supported for the next three years by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research Young Investigator Program!

January 2016: Some coverage of our Biology Letters paper in the Case Daily

January 2016: Jess and Ilakkiya give talks at the annual SICB meeting; Shwetha takes a new job as a technician in a cardiac tissue engineering lab at Stanford; Jess's commentary on burst activity in locust neurons is published

October 2015: Our paper on kinematic diversity in haltere movements is accepted at Biology Letters! Authors are Hall, McLoughlin, Kathman, Yarger, Mureli, and Fox.

October 2015: Alex Yarger is named a Department of Education GAAAN fellow; Ilakkiya Thanigaivelan wins a travel award to attend the annual SICB meeting

June 2015: Alex Yarger joins the lab as a PhD student

May 2015: Shwetha's paper on haltere influence on visually-guided flight behavior is accepted at the Journal of Experimental Biology

May 2015: Mariana Sainz-Garcia and Ilakkiya Thanigaivelan are awarded summer research fellowships; Josh Hall and Dane McLoughlin graduate

February 2015: Dane McLoughlin chatted with a sports reporter about his research in the lab. Oh, and also about basketball.

January 2015: Jess and Shwetha travel to West Palm Beach to give talks at the annual SICB meeting

December 2014: Postdoctoral associate Dr. Nick Kathman joins the lab after completing his PhD with colleague Roy Ritzmann

November 2014: Thanks to the CWRU men's basketball team for inviting Jess to a faculty reception so she could watch Dane crush Baldwin-Wallace. 19 points in the first half!

October 2014: Jess's commentary on walking behavior in flies is published

October 2014: We partnered with WISER to welcome 25 sixth-grade girls to the lab during the GE Girls in STEM Kickoff Event

August 2014: Jess travels to Sapporo, Japan to give an invited talk on haltere evolution at the International Congress for Neuroethology

June 2014: We are the proud recipients of a Konishi award from the International Society for Neuroethology- the lab's first grant!

June 2014: Mark Willis, our close collaborator and lab neighbor, is promoted to full professor! Congratulations Mark!

June 2014: Jess is interviewed by Channel 5 News about mayfly swarms; link

May 2014: Dane McLoughlin wins a Summer Program in Undergraduate Research (SPUR) award!

April 2014: Josh Hall wins a Provost Summer Undergraduate Research Grant (P-SURG) for his research project!

March 2014: Congrats to undergrad Josh Hall on being named NWCA Scholar All-America

February 2014: Lab technician Shwetha Mureli joins the lab

September 2013: Fox lab opens at CWRU!