Kady Lyons received the Samuel H. Gruber Presentation Award for the best presentation in Albuquerque, NM in 2013 for her Master’s research at Long Beach State University with Dr. Chris Lowe. Since then Kady has continued on to a PhD program at the University of Calgary in Calgary, Canada.
Q. How did you get started in this field?
As a kid, I raided our local library for books on animals and one of my favorites was a biography on Dr. Clark and her work with sharks, which was very inspiring. My parents helped foster my passion for science by often taking my sister and I to aquariums and enrolling us in after-school science programs. In addition, they were supportive when I chose to pursue a degree in marine biology at UC Santa Cruz not pre-med (thanks mom) or space engineering at U of Michigan (thanks dad).
Q. Tell us a little about your award-winning research. What was the most important finding of your research?
For my Master’s, I studied maternal offloading of organochlorine contaminants using the round stingray as a model. Maternal offloading is the process by where females unintentionally transfer accumulated contaminants to their offspring. We found that females offload contaminants during ovulation and as well as through histotroph (i.e. “uterine milk”) during gestation.
Q. What are your other research goals?
I am very interested in the crossroads between ecology and physiology with respect to contaminants. Within that, I am very interested in contaminant accumulation patterns as well as maternal transfer and how that is influenced by different reproductive modes. For my PhD research, I am investigating the potential effects of these offloaded contaminants on embryo physiology.
Thanks Kady and good luck!