Drosophila Research Technician
My name is Elisa Howansky, and I graduated with the Honors Medal and Honors Pin from Lander University with a Bachelor of Science in Biology. While at Lander, I conducted many class-related research projects which covered many topics ranging from ecology, limnology, wildlife biology, and conservation biology. While I was part of Lander’s Ecology Research Team, I predominantly researched white-tailed deer and their behavioral responses to human and predatory disturbances. I presented my research at USC Upstate’s Research Symposium, Lander’s Academic Symposium, and the Association of Southeastern Biologist’s annual meetings in 2022 and 2023.
For the Lander University Honors Program, I successfully completed a working abroad experience in the Galapágos, with the Arnaldo Tupiza Tortoise Breeding Center. As part of this working abroad experience, I spent 3 weeks on Isabela Island in the Galapágos and during that time I worked alongside Galápagos National Park employees to ensure the safety, comfort, and health of the Galapágos Giant Tortoises living there. My duties included looking for egg clutches in the enclosures, keeping track of the tortoises to ensure none went missing, numbering baby tortoises for record keeping, cleaning the enclosures, feeding the tortoises, and providing them with fresh water. While on the island of Isabela, we also did some work for the community, like painting the Spanish alphabet on the elementary school walls.
I am chiefly interested in bioinformatics and animal behavior. In the lab of Dr. Trudy Mackay and Dr. Robert Anholt, I jointly manage Clemson’s PrecisionTox project which focuses on testing the survival and sensitivity of hundreds of Drosophila melanogaster lines when exposed to waterborne toxins. These include cadmium chloride, arsenic, 4-methylimidazole, and soon acrylamide. The goal is to see if sex and genetic background have an effect on Drosophila survival and sensitivity to toxins.