Justin Bredlau

Ph.D. Candidate in Integrative Life Sciences
Virginia Commonwealth University
Richmond, VA
bredlauj at vcu.edu

Research

Cotesia congregata

I am interested in complex evolutionary systems. Often, evolution is best understood by incorporating multiple approaches, not just a focus on molecular genetics or ecology. Parasitoid insects are particularly interesting to me because they are fully dependent on their hosts, but often also on their host's foodplant. Parasitoid behavior, host immunity, plant chemical compostion, and molecular genetics all play a role in the evolutionary process.

My current research uses Cotesia congregata, a parasitoid of sphingid larvae, as a model to study the patterns of speciation among parasitic wasps. Parasitic wasps are highly diverse, but relatively little is known of the mechanisms driving their diversity. I combine work at multiple layers from behavior and ecology, to molecular genetics of their symbiotic polydnavirus to understand the mechanisms leading to speciation. I have worked extensively on breeding crosses of different host-foodplant complex sources of C. congregata to identify patterns of reproductive isolation. I have also made comparisons of response to female pheromone and analyzed differences in male courtship songs. We are currently collaborating with USDA-ARS on molecular differentiation of the symbiotic polydnavirus among the different host-foodplant sources of C. congregata.

I am currently seeking my next position where I can apply my organizational skills, leadership ability, and interdisciplinary experience in multi-trophic interactions to advance or support research in insect ecology, behavior, evolution, and/or genetics.

Education

Ph.D. Candidate in Integrative Life Sciences, Virginia Commonwealth University, Sept. 2012 - present
M.S. in Biology, Virginia Commonwealth University, August 2011
B.S. in Biology, University of Mary Washington, May 2007

Publications

Bredlau, JP & KM Kester. 2015. Pre- and postzygotic barriers to reproduction between two host-foodplant complex sources of the parasitic wasp, Cotesia congregata [Hymenoptera: Braconidae]. Annals of the Entomological Society of America 108: 1026-1036.

Bredlau, JP, YJ Mohajer, TM Cameron, KM Kester & ML Fine. 2013. Characterization and generation of male courtship song in Cotesia congregata (Hymenoptera: Braconidae). PLOS One 8: e62051.

Wilson, MD, BD Watts, MG Smith, JP Bredlau & LW Seal. 2007. Status Assessment of Golden-winged Warblers and Bewick's Wrens in Virginia. Center for Conservation Biology Technical Report Series, CCBTR-07-02. College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA.

Awards

Outstanding Biology Ph.D. Student in Evolution, VCU College of Humanities and Sciences, 5/2017

J. Shelton Horsley Research Award, Virginia Academy of Science, 5/19/2016 (with KM Kester)

Best Student Presentation in Natural History and Biodiversity Section (Woolcott Award), Virginia Academy of Science, 5/2016

1st Place, Arthropods of Virginia Photography Competition, Virginia Entomological Society, 5/19/2016

2nd Place in presentation competition, Integrative Life Sciences Research Showcase, VCU, 11/24/2014

Best Video in Discovery Category, YouTube Your Entomology, Entomological Society of America, 11/10/2013

Outstanding Biology Graduate Student Award, VCU College of Humanities and Sciences, 4/2012

Outstanding Biology Graduate Teaching Assistant Award, VCU College of Humanities and Sciences, 4/2012

1st Place, Student poster competition, Entomological Society of America Eastern Branch, 3/20/2011

Grants and Assistantships

Small Project Grant, Virginia Academy of Science, "More diversity than imagined: Characterizing an undescribed parasitic wasp species complex" 5/2013 ($1,250) (JP Bredlau & KM Kester)

Travel Grants from VCU Integrative Life Sciences, VCU Graduate Organization of Biology Students, and VCU Graduate School totalling > $4393

Graduate Research Assistantship, VCU Integrative Life Sciences, 8/2012 - 8/2014
Graduate Thesis Assistantship, VCU Graduate School, 1/2011 - 8/2011
Graduate Teaching Assistantship, VCU Dept. of Biology, 8/2009 - 12/2010

Teaching Experience

Instructor/Graduate Teaching Assistant
BIOZ 310 Genetics Lab; Fall 2017 (1 section)
LFSC 301 Integrative Life Science Research, recitation leader; Spring 2014 (1 section)
BIOZ 312 Invertebrate Zoology Lab; Spring 2012 (1 section), Summer 2012 (2)
BIOZ 101 Intro to Biological Sciences Lab; Fall 2011 (2 sections), Spring 2012 (4)
BIOZ 309 Entomology Lab; Fall 2009 (2 sections) , Fall 2010 (2), Fall 2011 (2), Fall 2016 (2), Fall 2017 (1)
BIOZ 152 Intro to Biological Sciences Lab; Spring 2010 (2 sections), Summer 2010 (1)

Guest lectures: BIOL 309 Entomology, VCU: 10/22/2015, 9/1/2016

Work Experience

Laboratory Manager, VCU Kester Lab, Richmond, VA (Aug. 2011 - present)
Train and manage undergraduate research interns (~10 per semester)
Supervise rearing of caterpillars and parasitic wasps and greenhouse cultivation of hostplants
Maintain inventory of laboratory supplies and ensure compliance with lab safety protocols
Supply parasitic wasps to research labs in the United States, Canada, and Europe
Assist undergraduate independent researchers

Field Technician, Gawlik Lab, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL (Jan. - June 2009)
Surveyed wading bird (egrets, herons, ibises, etc.) populations on Lake Okeechobee and made behavioral observations from airboats and helicopters

Field and Lab Technician, Wildlife Trust/UC Santa Cruz/Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, Washington, DC (May - Oct. 2008)
Collected, sorted, and identified mosquitoes for West Nile virus testing

Field Technician, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, Little Rock, AR (Dec. 2007 - Apr. 2008)
Seached for the Ivory-billed Woodpecker with Cornell University's field crew
Click here to read our online seach log

Field Technician, Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, Washington, DC (May - July 2007)
Located, monitored, and collected swamp sparrow nests in Maryland and Delaware

Field Technician, Center for Conservation Biology, Williamsburg, VA (May - Aug. 2006)
Independently surveyed Golden-winged and Blue-winged Warblers in southwestern VA
Collected and entered environmental and bird population data into a computer database

Presentations at National Meetings and Seminars

Bredlau, JP, KM Kester, DE Gunderson-Rindal, & D Kuhar. Host-foodplant complex sources and hybrids of the parasitic wasp, Cotesia congregata (Braconidae), differ in patterns of relative expression of bracovirus genes. Entomological Society of America 65th Annual Meeting, Denver, CO. 11/6/2017.

Bredlau, JP & KM Kester. Building a phylogeny of parasitic wasps in the genus, Cotesia, based on species-specific courtship songs. Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology, New Orleans, LA. 1/5/2017.

Bredlau, JP & KM Kester. Asymmetric hybrid dysgenesis in crosses of different host-foodplant complex sources of the parasitic wasp, Cotesia congregata. International Congress of Entomology, Orlando, FL. 9/27/16.

Bredlau, JP & KM Kester. Building a phylogeny of parasitic wasps in the genus, Cotesia, based on species-specific courtship songs. Ecological Society of America 100th Annual Meeting, Baltimore, MD. 8/14/2015 (organized oral session).

Bredlau, JP & KM Kester. Pre- and post- zygotic barriers to reproduction in Cotesia wasps. Institut de Recherche sur la Biologie de L'Insecte, Université François-Rabelais, Tours, France. 6/4/2015 (invited seminar).

Bredlau, JP & KM Kester. Comparison of courtship songs in Cotesia (Hymenoptera: Braconidae). Entomological Society of America 62nd Annual Meeting, Portland, OR. 11/17/2014.

Bredlau, JP & KM Kester. Evolving isolation mechanisms between two incipient species of an endoparasitic wasp. Evolution 2014, Raleigh, NC. 6/21/2014.

Bredlau, JP & KM Kester. Evolving isolation mechanisms between two incipient species of the endoparasitic wasp, Cotesia congregata. Entomological Society of America 61st Annual Meeting, Austin, TX. 11/11/2013.

Bredlau, JP, YJ Mohajer, TM Cameron, ML Fine & KM Kester. Courtship song mechanism of Cotesia congregata (Hymenoptera: Braconidae). Entomological Society of America 60th Annual Meeting, Knoxville, TN. 11/12/2012.

In addition, I regularly present at the Entomological Society of America Eastern Branch, the Virginia Academy of Science, and other regional meetings.

Professional Service

Treasurer: Integrative Life Sciences Student Organization (7/2015-6/2017) and Graduate Organization of Biology Students (7/2010-6/2011)

Videographer & editor, Entomological Society of America national meetings, Portland, OR (11/15-11/19/2014) and Austin, TX (11/9-11/13/2013), videos featured on EntSoc Youtube channel and EntomologyToday.org

Judge, Virginia Junior Academy of Science annual meeting at VCU, Richmond, VA, 5/14/2014

Public outreach education with insect displays, live insect interactions, and nature walks; over 25 events with 8 organizations (2010-2017). See our Outreach page

Other Interests

Justin Bredlau SCUBA

SCUBA diving!

View short video projects that I directed

Justin's ResearchGate profile