Prof. Megan Porter
Check out the interview with our newest faculty member!
1. Where were you working before joining the University of Hawai'i at Manoa Biology Department?
Before joining the University of Hawai’i at Manoa Biology Department I was an assistant professor in the Department of Biology at the University of South Dakota for 2.5 years.
2. Can you explain your new jobs in the Biology department? What are your roles?
As a new assistant professor in the UHM Biology Department I am currently teaching the sophomore-level BIOL275 course, Cell and Molecular Biology. I am also in the process of building my research program, including assembling my lab space and working with graduate and undergraduate students on projects related to my studies. I currently have two M.S. students and an undergraduate student in my lab, and I hope to expand this group over the next year.
3. What has been your research focus leading up to this point in your career?
My current research is focused on questions related to the evolution of arthropod visual systems. In particular, much of my research is centered around the unique and complex eyes of stomatopod crustaceans, also known as mantis shrimp. It is exciting to be in Hawai’i, where almost 20 species of mantis shrimp have been found. I love that I can go out to almost any beach and catch my shrimp. Right now I have two graduate students in my lab who are both studying aspects of how mantis shrimp eyes change throughout development. We are spending lots of time out in the water looking for both adults and larvae!
4. What brought you to the field of Biology? What is your favorite part about your job?
When I was growing up I was always outside, picking up any living thing that I could find. I have been lucky enough to find a career that allows me to continue to do this as an adult. I love that my job entails observing animals in their natural habitat and formulating studies that lead to a deeper understanding of how animals fit into and interact with the world around them. To make my job even better, I get to share my excitement over the natural world with students. I can’t think of anything else I would rather be doing.
5. What type of things are you looking forward to being a new part of the UH Mānoa faculty?
As a new part of the UH Manoa faculty I am looking forward to interacting with the students on campus, who have already shown a tremendous curiosity and interest in my research. I am also very excited to be at an institution where there is so much marine, sensory, and organismal biology being done. I am already finding a multitude of ways I can contribute to both student and faculty research that is already being done, and I look forward to developing many interesting collaborations with the outstanding research community in Hawai’i.
6. Any closing thoughts? Plans for new research? Projects?
I am extremely thrilled to have joined the UHM Department of Biology faculty. I will be starting several new and exciting projects over the next year, and I look forward to getting more students involved in this research. If you are interested in vision, crustaceans, or mantis shrimp – stop by my office for a chat!