Itai Meirom

Mentor: Dr. Colette St. Mary
College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
"I was first inspired to become involved with research during my freshman year after meeting several graduate students at the University of Florida and learning about some of the fascinating work that they are doing with their projects. While research is a broad field that is constantly evolving in both breadth and depth in terms of scientific knowledge, it also offers the opportunity to become an expert in a narrow segment of that growing body. By specializing within one aspect of scientific inquiry, researchers are able to lead the way into further developing bodies of knowledge that someday will lead to groundbreaking findings and developments. The ability to take part in something so fundamentally important and fascinating is why I first got involved in research and continue to do so."


Microbiology and Cell Science


Public Health

Research Interests

  • Evolutionary Ecology
  • Behavioral Biology
  • Cell & Developmental Biology

Academic Awards

  • University Scholars Program 2016
  • Top 3 Poster Award, OHSU Summer Research Symposium 2016
  • CLAS Dean's List 2014-2016
  • Florida Bright Futures 2014


  • Medical Journal Society
  • Mobile Outreach Clinic
  • Culinary Arts Student Union


  • Graham Civic Scholar at Bob Graham Center for Public Service
  • Peer Adviser at UF Center for Undergraduate Research
  • Clinic Volunteer at Shands Hospital ED

Hobbies and Interests

  • Cooking
  • Nutrition
  • Running
  • Teaching

Research Description

Female Receptivity on Males with Missing Limbs
It has been thoroughly documented that females from different species within the animal kingdom will commonly assess the health and/or quality of males before choosing to mate. Like many arthropods, the leaf-food bug (Insecta: Hemiptera: Coreidae) has the ability to self-amputate a limb in order to escape a life-threatening situation. This process, known as autotomy, manifests itself in many forms throughout the animal kingdom. However, it may be possible that lacking a limb in this case can be seen as a sign of poor health or quality. Consequently, this may decrease the mating success of males in this species. The purpose of my research will thus be to investigate whether or not females have a preference for males with all of their limbs.