B.S., Valparaiso University
Ph.D., University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Dr. Lash earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and Chemistry from Valparaiso University. She then moved south to pursue a doctoral degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Her doctoral research, in the lab of Dr. Charlie Kwit, focused on the chemical and microbial components of myrmecochory (seed dispersal by ants). While pursuing her degree, she also mentored undergraduate research on seed dispersal and on fungal disease transmission in ant colonies.
These research projects match her current research program. She’s primarily interested in expanding the ant-plant interaction of ant seed dispersal to include third-party species (such as bacteria and fungi). She’s also interested in how ant and plant chemicals influence interactions in ant-plant ecological relationships. Additionally, she hopes to continue studying disease transmission and disease defense in ant colonies. Finally, she plans to expand her research to include habitat restoration by using USF’s Codo Prairie. Students interested in research with Dr. Lash should feel free to chat with her about project ideas! Come learn about why ants are one of the most amazing organisms on our planet!