Kristina Gonzales

    kristinagonzales   Mentor: Dr. Immo Hansen
  RISE Scholar since: Fall 2014

  • Ph.D. Biology, New Mexico State University, Expected 2018
  • B.A. American Indian/ Native American Studies, Haskell Indian Nations University, 2010
Research Interests:

  • I am interested in studying mosquito physiology to reduce the toll of mosquito-borne diseases. My project focuses on the development of an artificial blood meal for rearing vector species in the laboratory for research purposes.
Teaching Experience and Interests:

  • I have experience in teaching undergraduate Human Biology (BIOL 101). I prepared and presented laboratory lectures. Initiated and supervised laboratory exercises related to course, administered weekly quizzes, graded laboratory reports, and overlooked semester-long “Recycling” project. In addition, I have volunteered my time towards outreach endeavors on campus that focus on increasing underrepresented minorities in science, technology, engineering and math fields.

  • I am a Native American doctoral candidate at NMSU majoring in biology (cell and organismal emphasis). For the past four years, I have been working in Dr. Immo Hansen’s Molecular Vector Physiology laboratory studying the nutritional requirements of mosquito egg production in the yellow fever vector, Aedes aegypti. My dissertation focuses on developing an artificial blood meal to replace live laboratory animals as blood hosts. My findings were published in a first-author paper titled “Blood serum and BSA, but neither red blood cells nor hemoglobin can support vitellogenesis and egg production in the dengue vector Aedes aegypti” (2015). Since then I have developed an artificial blood meal prototype that has sustained an Ae. aegypti mosquito colony for 10 consecutive generations! This work has led to my second first-author publication, titled “Artificial Diets for Mosquitoes” (2016), and current research on how our artificial diet impacts mosquito physiology and vector competence.
Research Publications:

  • Rodriguez SD, Chung H, Gonzales KK, Vulcan J, Li Y, Lazo JAA, Corrales HMR, Terrazas MD, Shu F & Hansen IA. (2016). Efficacy of some wearable devices compared to spray-on insect repellents for Aedes aegypti L. (Diptera: Culicidae) a vector of Zika virus. Journal of Insect Science. In Press.
  • Gonzales, KK, & Hansen, IA. (2016). Artificial Diets for Mosquitoes. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 13(12), 1267.
  • Gonzales KK, Tsujimoto H, & Hansen IA. (2015). Blood serum and BSA, but neither red blood cells nor hemoglobin can support vitellogenesis and egg production in the dengue vector Aedes aegypti. PeerJ, 3:e938
Oral Presentations:

  • 2016- An artificial diet for the yellow fever mosquito, Aedes aegypti. RISE STARTUP Seminar: Health Disparities and the Environment, Las Cruces, NM.
  • 2016- An evaluation of the efficacy of potential Aedes aegypti attractants and repellents. Anastacia Mosquito Control District, St. Augustine, FL.
  • 2015-  SkitoSnack™: An alternative blood-free diet for Aedes aegypti mass rearing. Entomological Society of America Conference, Minneapolis, MN.

  • 2013-2017 Navajo Nation Scholarship recipient
  • 2013, 2016 Sweetwater Chapter House Scholarship recipient
  • 2011, 2012 Dean’s Honor List, Diné College, Shiprock, NM
  • 2010 B. A. Magnum cum laude, HINU
  • 2009-2010 Tribal Colleges and Universities Scholarship recipient, HINU
  • 2009 National Association of Intercollegiate Athletes All-American Scholar Athlete, HINU
  • 2009 Nyswander Manson Native American Education Fund Scholarship recipient, HINU
  • 2008-2009 Midlands Collegiate Athletic Conference All-Conference Second Team, HINU
  • 2008-2009 Midlands Collegiate Athletic Conference Scholar-Athlete, HINU
  • 2005-2010 Chief Manuelito Scholarship recipient
Service activities:

  • 2016 Innoventure Presenter, NMSU, Las Cruces, NM: Disseminated a synopsis of my research to middle and high school students and allowed them to plan and execute their own artificial blood feeding experiment.
  • 2016 Career Day Presenter, Loma Linda Elementary, Anthony, NM: Encouraged elementary students to pursue a career in science by lecturing and engaging them in a discussion about its pros and cons.
  • 2016 College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP) Presenter, NMSU, Las Cruces, NM: Conducted a mosquito attraction assay and answered questions related to my research while engaging students in a discussion about the pros of a STEM career.
  • 2015 CAMP Presenter, NMSU, Las Cruces, NM: Conducted a mosquito artificial blood-meal feeding demonstration to NMSU students in CAMP. Created a STEM flyer and engaged CAMP freshmen students in hands-on activities related to my research and discussed STEM education, research, and career opportunities
  • 2014 Sierra Middle School Science Magnet Presenter, NMSU, Las Cruces, NM: Demonstrated mosquito artificial blood meal and mosquito attraction assays to middle school students in the Science Magnet program.