RIFFELLLab | People
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Riffell Laboratory Personnel

Principal Investigator

Jeff Riffell_headshot

               Jeff Riffell, Ph.D

               Associate Professor

               Department of Biology



              My Biography: http://faculty.washington.edu/jriffell/


              My CV



Clément Vinauger


I am a postdoc investigating how the cognitive abilities of disease vector insects, and more precisely their ability to learn and remember information about their hosts, could impact their host preference and their ability to transmit diseases. Relying on an integrative approach, including behavioral assays and electrophysiological recordings, my current research seeks to evince and characterize the learning abilities of mosquitoes and to unravel the underlying physiological and neurobiological mechanisms.

My Website link: http://www.clementvinauger.com/


Chloé A. Lahondère


I am a biologist interested in disease vector insects’ thermal biology, physiology and neuro-ethology. After receiving my PhD from the University of Tours (France), I joined Jeff’s lab to study the olfactory neurobiology and behavior of mosquitoes. I’m interested in how temperature can affect organisms’ life from the cell level (e.g. a neuron) to the species ecology. This project involves various levels of analysis including electrophysiology and behavioral assays.


Winnie W. Ho


I study the mechanisms of diversity in communication signals. I try to understand how variation in signaling traits occur, by using a combination of behavioral, neuroendocrine, neurophysiological, chemical ecological, and molecular approaches. Currently my work focuses on the scents produced from flowers and traps of carnivorous plants, which possess a remarkable suite of adaptations to lure and catch insect prey into their traps. I am interested in determining how different functional guilds of insects (pollinators, prey, parasites) perceive and respond to these olfactory signals.


Gabriella H. Wolff


In arthropods, primary sensory brain neuropils project to higher order centers, such as connections from olfactory glomeruli to the mushroom bodies in insects, chelicerates, and myriapods, and from the olfactory lobes to the hemiellipsoid bodies in malacostracan crustaceans. These higher centers integrate visual, olfactory and haptic inputs, and have been described as “learning and memory” neuropils. I am currently investigating how insect brains encode salient olfactory sensory information in the antennal lobes and mushroom bodies. Using comparative neuroanatomical and behavioral assays, I examine how these structures have evolved to adapt to various host-seeking strategies.

Graduate Students


Jeremy K. L. Chan


Jeremy is an entering graduate student in the Biology Department. Jeremy got his BS (honors) in Chemistry with a minor in Biology at the University of Victoria in 2014. His research interests are in pollinator behaviors, plant-insect interactions, and how plant (floral and vegetative) volatiles mediate those interactions.


Marie R. Clifford


Marie’s research focuses on the co-evolutionary relationships between pollinators, insect herbivores, and flowering plants, and how these relationships are mediated by chemical cues and sensory processing. In particular, she works on pollinator and herbivore transitions within the passionflowers, which are pollinated by bats, birds, bees, and moths, and which are eaten by many species of specialized herbivores called Heliconius butterflies.

Yasmeen Photo 1

Yasmeen Hussain


Yasmeen is a graduate student in the Biology Department studying chemical communication at the scale of the single cell. She is interested in the physiological and behavioral consequences of sperm chemoattractants in mediating reproduction.

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Eleanor Lutz


Eleanor is an entering graduate student in the Biology Department and will be rotating Spring quarter 2016. She is interested in the neural bases of behavior and sensory plasticity.


Ryo Okubo


Ryo is generally interested in studying chemical ecology and is currently focusing on studying the interactions between the blunt-leaved rein orchid, Platanthera obtusata, and their pollinators, Aedes mosquitoes. Ryo is interested in combining his experiences in ecology and olfactory neurobiology.


Claire Rusch


Claire is an entering graduate student in the Biology Department. Her work focuses on learning and memory in the honey bee – and attractive system for learning because of it’s robust behaviors and relatively simplified neuroanatomy that permits neurophysiological recordings from identifiable neurons.



Binh T. Nguyen


Binh is a research technologist, and is a master of insect rearing and husbandry. Binh supervises the care of the mosquitoes (Aedes aegypti) and hawkmoths (Manduca sexta) colonies.


Dane Alzate (BIO, NBIO)

Ben Arnold (BIO, NBIO)

Jessica Liao (BIO)

Kyle A. (BIO)

Stephanie H. (BIO)

Edward K. (BIO)

Kennedy Tobin (BIO, NBIO)

Brian Vickers (BIO)

Lab Alumni


Akira Mamiya (2015) – Now in John Tuthill’s laboratory in Physiology and Biophysics


Graduate Students:

Kelsey Byers (PhD ’14) – Now a postdoctorate in Florian Schiestl and Philipp Schlüter laboratory (University of Zurich)



Elischa Sanders (BA ’14): MD/PhD student at UCSD
Lauren Locke (BA ’14): MD student at New York Medical College.
Jillian Joiner (BA ’14): PhD student at the University of Greenwich, UK.
Pratishtha Chhabra (BA ’14): Master’s student at Lincoln Memorial University.
Jonathan Miao (BA ’15): PhD student at Brown