Kathrin grew up in Germany and after training in animal physiology (MS) and behavioral physiology (PhD) at Eberhardt Karls Universität Tübingen (Germany), she came to the US in 1988 to collect data for her PhD at the Duke University Lemur Center. She taught at Duke University, Wake Forest University, and the University of Texas at Austin, where she also worked as a postdoctoral researcher in the Hillis lab, before coming to UGA. Her research interests center around the evolution of communication systems, including acoustic signaling in lemurs, and light signaling in fireflies, and it extends into the college classroom environment where she studies how to help students learn and facilitate their critical thinking skills. She is also invested in training graduate students in science communication.
My current research interests focus on the evolution of sexual signals in fireflies (Coleoptera: Lampyridae). My lab is generating molecular phylogenies of fireflies from around the world to study how their light and/or chemical signals evolved to attract conspecific mates.
We generate data across traditional disciplinary boundaries and integrate molecular sequencing data, quantitative morphological trait measurements, pigment chemistry, and signaling behavior with phylogenomics and transcriptomics to study signal evolution from both the sender (light production) and receiver (signal detection: eyes and antennae) perspective in the firefly system.
We also have existing data sets on student learning in introductory biology and we always welcome students who want to utilize these data to study relevant questions (e.g. conceptual approaches to answering questions, learning with online case studies, and/or reproductive health knowledge) on student learning during the first years of college.
NSF DEB: 2017-2021. Co-PI. Collaborative Proposal: Shedding light on firefly phylogenetic systematics and the evolution of their sexual signal types.
NSF REU Supplement, July 1, 2018–June 30, 2021. Role: PI.
Postdoctoral Researcher, Hillis Lab, University of Texas at Austin, 1997-2005
PhD, Behavioral Physiology, Eberhardt Karls Universität, Tübingen, Germany, 1993
MS, Animal Physiology, Eberhardt Karls Universität Tübingen, Germany, 1988
Elected AAAS Fellow, 2018
National Academies of Sciences, Education Mentor in the Life Sciences, 2011
Sandy Beaver Excellence in Teaching Award, University of Georgia Franklin College, 2009
National Academies of Sciences, Education Fellow in the Life Sciences, 2008