Meet the Lab!
Assistant Professor of Entomology
Aram was born in what was then the Soviet Union and raised in India. He grew up loving biology and languages - two interests that competed for his time (and space, on his bookshelf). He finally ended up studying insect gut microbiology at the Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology (Germany), LOEWE center for synthetic microbiology (Germany), and Vanderbilt University (USA).
At the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology at NC State, he continues to research and teach insect gut microbiology. He is primarily interested in the coevolution of insects with their gut microbiomes. In order to recharge, he likes to draw and (much less frequently) play the bass.
Melbert grew up just outside of DC in northern Virginia and has also lived in Florida and Quebec. His research questions are focused on better understanding the influence of microorganisms on the biology of their host and incorporating existing ecological theory into the world of microbes.
Outside of the lab, Melbert enjoys hiking, fishing, rugby, brewing, listening to music, playing bass, stroking his beard thoughtfully, and just generally rocking out!
Marissa grew up just down the road in Cary, NC. She studied biology at Wake Tech, where she first discovered her love for all things "Arthropoda", and completed her bachelor’s degree in biology at Meredith College, focusing her undergraduate research on entomology. Her research in the Mikaelyan Lab is focused on the effects of diet on the rate of trophallaxis in termites.
In her free time, she likes spending time with her family (especially her dog), photographing insects at the arboretum, drawing, and sharing her love of entomology through volunteering whenever possible!
Ph.D. student (co-advised by B. Wiegmann)
Ezra (Emily) was born in South Africa, but grew up in Indiana and North Carolina. She is a biology and entomology undergraduate lab technician with a lifelong love of wildlife, animal tracking, and evolutionary biology. Ezra plans to go to graduate school at NC State and find ways to improve people's lives through research in biology and entomology, as well as eventually visit to South Africa to work with animals there.
When not in class, a lab, or being a teacher's assistant, she loves to draw and paint, read about wildlife, hang out with her pet mantis, and drink quite a bit of tea.
Postdoctoral scholar (co-advised by C. Schal)
Aaron grew up in Southwestern Michigan and his home was a short drive from Lake Michigan. While working in different labs during his undergraduate studies in biology at Grand Valley State University, he realized that he wanted to pursue a career in entomology. This led him to Purdue University where he worked with urban pests and investigated basic and applied research questions on how bed bugs respond to heat exposure and other control techniques.
At NC state, Aaron will continue to research urban pests in order to enhance entomopathogen efficacy for their control.
When not working on research projects, Aaron likes to spend time with his dogs, other pets, and gardening. He is also an avid consumer books and movies that are primarily in the horror and science fiction genres.
Elizabeth grew up in Princeton, NC and is a rising senior at Campbell University. I am a double major in biology and environmental science, with strong interests in microbiology and bee biology.
After graduating I will pursue graduate school. I joined the M-lab as a BEEMore scholar, and stayed on as a part-time technician in the M-lab. I currently assist on multiple projects on insect microbiomes. In my free time, I love to work with honeybee hives and spend time with my handsome dog, Boone.
Becca grew up in Chapel Hill, NC with free reign of the woods and spent her childhood playing with insects, reptiles, and anything she could catch. She graduated from NC State with a bachelor's degree in biology and a double-minor in forensic science and entomology, and is currently pursuing a career in entomology. She is gaining experience through her work at the Mikaelyan Lab and plans to apply for a Ph.D. program at NC State in the near future. Regarding entomology, her main interests include bioconservation, ecosystem and microhabitat function, eusocial behavioral ecology, and symbiotic relationships.
While not in the lab, she spends her time being a plant-mom, organizing, hanging with Ivy (her cat), building moss garden terrariums, woodworking, nature-walking and tree-climbing, and traveling as much as possible.
Postdoctoral scholar (co-advised by B. Wiegmann)
Cristian was born in La Ermita, Chiquimula (Guatemala), where he grew up surrounded by mountains. He used the weekends to hike alongside his dad and explore nature, including stopping to count how many different plants, sounds, or animals he could spot. From then on he developed a great appreciation for life and its diversity. He went on to study Biology and graduated from the Universidad del Valle de Guatemala in 2009 (Licentiate Degree), Wichita State University in 2013 (Masters), and the University of Memphis in 2019 (Ph.D.). His research interests are in the fields of evolution, systematics, and drivers of diversification.
Cristian continues his weekend hikes, but also enjoys watching Club Social y Deportivo Municipal (his favorite soccer team), and spending time with family and friends.
Currently, there are no funded opportunities in the Mikaelyan lab for postdocs or graduate students. Jobs will be posted on the website when available. However, we are always eager to working on collaborative proposals for fellowships for independent research, such as NSF post-doctoral fellowships or the GRFP.
We are always looking for hard working undergraduate students who are interested in either assisting graduate students or postdocs with their research. There are also opportunities for students interested in gaining experience in independent research. Feel free to contact Dr. Mikaelyan directly for inquiries.