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Appointment Details

  • Priority Areas: Health Equity and Advancing STEM Diversity
  • Disciplines: Biochemistry, Microbiology, Neuroscience, and Entomology 
  • Mentor’s Name: Dr. Yana Bromberg 
  • Mentor’s Discipline: Bioinformatics 
  • School: School of Environmental and Biological Sciences (SEBS)
  • Department: Biochemistry and Microbiology

About Jennifer S. Sun

Jennifer S. Sun’s research combines her expertise in microbiology, entomology, neuroscience, and biochemistry to investigate how insects’ sense of smell can be altered by the bacteria which reside in their gut. Insects use their sense of smell to locate mates and food sources which, for biting insects, may include human hosts. Internal bacterial composition (endosymbionts) can alter insect behaviors like mating and digestion, but we do not have conclusive evidence that insect olfaction also changes. As a Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow, Dr. Sun will employ an interdisciplinary approach to understand if and how endosymbionts enable insect vectors to locate suitable hosts, with the aim of providing better insight into the mechanism of olfaction across species through the study of a highly evolutionarily conserved interspecies relationship. Moreover, Dr. Sun will work on identifying novel mechanisms for keeping biting insects at bay, thereby promoting Health Equity by creating a more healthful physical environment via community-based disease prevention projects. Dr. Sun obtained her Ph.D. in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology from Yale University and postdoctoral training in infectious diseases from Princeton University. As a Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow, she will establish a research laboratory and develop a course curriculum based on immersive research experiences. Her years dedicated to teaching and mentoring for the enhancement of minority participation in STEAM, and the overall improvement of high school and college-level students’ prowess, will inevitably be perpetuated in her role as future a Rutgers faculty.