Former Forensic and Investigative Sciences student Michelle Jonika put her spin on insect art as she received first prize at a recent science art contest hosted by the Interdisciplinary Genetics Program in August at the Biochemistry/Biophysics Building lobby.
Jonika was one of 18 entries from the Genetics program done by faculty and graduate students in the program. A former forensics and investigative student, Jonika is currently a Ph.D. student in Genetics with Blackmon’s lab in the Department of Biology.
Her entry was very unique in that included the Texas A&M logo that was made entirely of Chrysina beetles that were collected from a recent trip to Arizona for a research project.
Jonika said that the lab is performing genomic and morphological analyses of each of the beetles from each mountain range in the Southwest, she said. The goal of the project is to help characterize the gene flow within and among the ranges where the beetles lived, detect signatures of selection, and estimate rates of structural changes in genomes in each species.
The contest was held to help bring awareness to different research projects that were being done by the graduate students in the program. Her
“While we took some really great pictures of these beetles on the trip, I feel that the 3D picture of the A&M logo truly captured a great way to showcase the cool research that we have the opportunity to do at A&M and gave a unique way to display the beetles that we get to work with in the Blackmon lab!” Jonika said. “I am grateful for the award! I think it is amazing to not only be able to communicate your science through presentations, but to also be able to create artistic displays,” she said.