We are committed to increasing and promoting diversity, inclusion and equity in our research and teaching activities. We are dedicated to providing a safe and supportive environment for all lab members including those from under-served and under-represented communities. We reject discrimination, bullying and harassment and value support, encouragement and respect of others.
Chloé Lahondère (Principal Investigator)
I am a biologist interested in blood-sucking insects' thermal biology, physiology and neuro-ethology. I obtained my Bachelor's and Master's degrees from the University of Tours (France) and pursued a PhD at the same university under the supervision of Prof. Claudio Lazzari. I then moved to Seattle to join the lab of Prof. Jeff Riffell in the Department of Biology at the University of Washington. I joined the faculty of the Department of Biochemistry at Virginia Tech as a Research Assistant Professor in October 2017.
Link to my CV
Louna Abdalla (Undergraduate Researcher)
Louna is a freshman at Virginia Tech, and she is currently pursuing a dual degree in Biological Sciences and Neuroscience. She is from Washington, DC, and is an active member of the VT Running Club. She is fascinated by the interactions of organisms, and works to research the evidence behind it. Upon graduation, Louna will pursue a career in medicine or research. For fun, she likes to read and spend time with her friends and family.
Louna joined the lab in fall 2021 and is working primarily with Joanna.
Danielle David (Undergraduate Researcher)
Danielle is a sophomore at Virginia Tech pursuing a dual degree in Biochemistry and Chemistry with a minor in Spanish. She is from Richmond, Virginia. After graduation she would like to pursue a career in medicine or research. In her free time, Danielle likes to play soccer, hike, read, and paddle board.
Danielle joined the lab in Spring 2022 and is working primarily with Helen.
Shajaesza Diggs (Lab tech)
Shajaesza is a Summer lab technician finishing her bachelor's in Biochemistry degree Virginia Tech. She will be conducting research in Dr. Vinauger's lab working with the molecular biology and time dependent behaviors of mosquitoes. She hopes to pursue a graduate degree in Microbiology, Pathology, or Biology. In the future, she also hopes to continue research in drug chemistry or pathology of infectious diseases. Outside of the lab, she enjoys watching documentaries and being outdoors.
Shajaesza joined the lab in Summer 2021 and is co-mentored with Clément Vinauger.
Sydney Fogleman (Undergraduate researcher)
Sydney is a senior at Virginia Tech and is pursuing a dual degree in Biological Sciences and Psychology. She is from Yorktown, Virginia and is currently serving as an Undergraduate Teaching Assistant for Principles of Biology 1105 and 1106. After graduation, she plans to go to graduate school to continue her education and research in Neurobiology. She is a part of various organizations on campus including The Environmental Coalition at Virginia Tech and Lambda Iota Mu, a service-based fraternity. She is very interested in climate-based research.
Sydney joined the lab in May 2021.
Joanna Reinhold (PhD student)
Joanna is a fourth year Biochemistry Ph.D. student at Virginia Tech. She graduated from Wake Forest University in 2014 with a BA in Biology and a minor in Chemistry. Joanna did undergraduate research in parasitology, surveying parasite load in centrarchid fishes under the supervision of Dr. Esch. She is interested in host-seeking behavior and potential pathogen transmission in certain species of mosquitoes that feed on ectothermic animals. Joanna is from Charleston, SC and moved to Virginia a few years ago.
Joanna volunteered in the lab during Summer 2018 before joining the PhD program in August 2018.
Forde Upshur, MS (PhD student)
Forde Upshur obtained his Master's degree in Biochemistry at Virginia Tech. He graduated from Virginia Tech in the spring of 2018 with a Bachelor's in Biochemistry and a minor in Chemistry. He did his undergraduate research at UVa under the supervision of Dr. Brown, working to develop a promoter database for the entire human genome. Forde is looking to gain a diverse array of experience and knowledge during his time as a graduate student, particularly in the fields of biochemistry, chemistry, and behavioral ecology. He also plays guitar and sings and is currently in the process of starting a band.
Forde joined the program in August 2018, rotated in the lab and officially joined in November 2018 as a Master's student. He graduated in may 2020 and is pursuing his PhD in the lab.
Christopher Logan (Undergraduate researcher)
Chris is a rising senior undergraduate biological sciences student with minors in chemistry and entomology. He is interested in how a changing environment will affect human’s interactions with natural ecosystems, especially insect vectors and agricultural pests. In the future, he is looking to pursue a graduate career in chemical ecology. In his free time I play the ukulele and spend time outside birding or hiking.
Chris joined the lab in May 2021.
Helen Oker (BS/MS student - FURF Fellow)
Helen is currently pursuing a degree in Biochemistry with minors in Entomology and Chemistry. She has been involved in undergraduate research throughout her education at Virginia Tech, working with Dr. Carla Finkielstein in the Biological Sciences department and Dr. Samantha Harden in the HNFE department. In the future, she hopes to further her education and continue to work in disease vector and invasive species research. Outside of the lab, Helen enjoys getting outside, doing yoga, and baking.
Helen joined the lab in Spring 2021 as an undergraduate researcher, worked at a lab tech over the Summer and started the BS/MS program in Fall 2021. She is the recipient of a FURF and a GCC undergraduate research award.
Vansh Parikh (Undergraduate researcher)
Vansh is a current freshman at Virginia Tech studying Biochemistry with minors in Biomedical Engineering and Chemistry. He is originally from Blacksburg, VA, so Virginia Tech has always been home for him. After graduation, he plans to go to medical school and eventually specialize in hematology-oncology or ophthalmology. In the future, he also hopes to conduct his own research in cancer cell metastasis or drug chemistry. In his free time, Vansh loves being outdoors going rock climbing and hiking!
Vansh joined the lab in Fall 2021 and is working primarily with Forde.
Rachel Porter (Undergraduate researcher)
Rachel is a junior at Virginia Tech and is pursuing a degree in Biological Systems Engineering with minors in Entomology and Green Engineering. After graduation, she plans to pursue a graduate degree in Engineering with a focus on Entomology. Rachel also currently works in Dr. Entrekin's aquatic entomology lab as a lab technician. She is particularly interested in exploring the application of biotechnology to insects and the environment. Outside of school, she is a figure skater and enjoys being outdoors.
Rachel joined the lab in Spring 2022 and is working primarily with Forde and Joanna.
Martina Carlassara, PhD Student - University of Pavia, Dr. Mariangela Bonizzoni's lab - Travelling Fellowship, The Company of Biologists - Fall/Winter 2021
Mik Fehlman, REU VT REEL - Penn State University - Summer 2021
Megan Roark, REU MLBS - UV wise - Summer 2021
Dimitri Wangrawa, Assistant Professor - Fullbright Scholar - University Norbert Zongo - Bukina Faso - 2021
Zach Baker, Summer Lab and Field Assistant - 2020
Elizabeth Bose , Undergraduate researcher (Biochemistry) - 2018-2019
Ross Choate, Undergraduate researcher (Biological Sciences) - 2020
Darren Dougharty, Lab tech - 2020-2021
Lauren Fryzlewicz, Master Student and Technician (Biochemistry) - 2019-2021
Cameron Hart, Undergraduate researcher (Biochemistry) - 2018-2019
Aley Savory, Undergraduate researcher (Chemical Engineering) - 2019-2020
Ryan Shaw, Undergraduate researcher (Biological Sciences) - 2019-2020
Anaïs Tallon, Post-doctoral associate - 2021-2022
Sarah Tartabini, Undergraduate researcher (Biochemistry) - 2018-2020
Morgen VanderGiessen, Lab Tech and MSc student (Biochemistry) - co-mentored with Clément Vinauger - 2018-2021
Ashlynn VanWinkle, Undergraduate researcher (Biochemistry / Chemistry) - 2020-2021