DeAnna E. Beasley, Assistant Professor

Department of Biology, Geology, Environmental Science

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

I’m interested in how insects are responding to environmental changes associated with human activity, with a focus on climate change and urbanization. Primary research focus in the lab includes understanding changes in insect-fungi associations across urban habitats. I’m also very interested in engaging the public and students in research using citizen science.

Rosa Cantu, Graduate student in Public Health

Class of 2020

Summary of research:

I work closely with ant ecology research and the ant diet preference study, supervising undergraduate researchers and helping them in the lab. I also work towards building connections with community partners for citizen science collaborations with the lab.

Itzul Guzman Hernandez

Itzel Guzman Hernandez, Undergraduate 

Honors College Research Fellowship Recipient

Class of 2019

Summary of research:

My research will focus on the ant physiology as it relates to the diet and how it might predict species diversity in an urban environment.

Future plans:

My goal in life is to be able to travel the world and work with animals. After graduation, I plan to enter the JET program which helps teach English in Japan. My dream job would be working as a field researcher or work in a zoo in Australia.


Lucas Mitchell 2019

Lucas Mitchell, undergraduate

Class of 2019

Summary of research:

My name is Lucas Mitchell and I just completed my last semester as an undergraduate, finishing with a BS in biology and a minor in chemistry. When I do have free time, you can expect to find me outdoors: hiking, climbing, or caving. I am currently doing research for Professor DeAnna Beasley’s integrative ecology lab. My research is focusing on the diversity of ant communities (morphospecies) in relation to habitat structure (disturbance) at three locations around Chattanooga: Audubon Acres, Reflection Riding, and Moccasin Bend. Through this study, I am looking to acquire valuable research experience and have high hopes for it in terms of publication.

Future goals:

I do see graduate school in my future, but not immediately. For now, a break year, to see some of the things this beautiful country has to offer, and then my sister and I plan to serve 2 years in the Peace Corps.


Chad Solomon 2019

Chad Solomon, undergraduate

Class of 2020

Summary of research:

My main role in the lab so far has been to help with the fungal replating, DNA extraction, and PCR amplification of the entomopathogenic fungi that were isolated from cicadas samples. This project is that conclusion of Hannah J. Hightowers cicada research, which uses the cicada as a bioindicator, when looking at undisturbed vs. disturbed habitats.

This summer (2019) I am coordinating an ant nutrient preference data sampling, where the data will be incorporated into a larger study, by Dr. Beasley’s collaborators. Furthermore, I hope to have a project of my own for the fall of 2019 that is investigating the relationship between ants or some other type of insect and fungi.

Future goals:

After graduating from UTC, I plan to take some time off and determine what I am interested in, as far as, research goes so that I can pursue this interest in graduate school.

Jaden Stone 2019

Jaden Stone, undergraduate

Class of 2022

Summary of research:

I am currently a sophomore at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. I am from Knoxville, TN and I am studying Environmental Science with a focus in biodiversity, conservation, and natural resources. At my university, I am heavily involved in many clubs and organizations that have not only allowed for me to have a great impact on the university, but have also helped for me to grow tremendously in my short time here.

Future goals:

Upon completion of my undergraduate degree, I look to enroll in a PhD program in Environmental Health. My end goal is to travel throughout the nation as a researcher, studying climate change, environmental health, and ecology in hopes to create new discoveries to present at scientific conferences around the world.

Past Lab Members

Rachel Ayers

Hao Brooks

Natalie Hawkins

Hannah Hightower

Taylor Perry