Scott D. Cinel

Ph.D. Student

Department of Biology, UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA

Mcguire center for lepidoptera and biodiversity

florida museum of natural history | PHONE: (708) 502-5161


August 2016 – Present

Ph.D. Student, Department of Biology, University of Florida, National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellow, University of Florida Graduate School Fellow

GPA: 4.00/4.00

August 2014  2016

Master of Science in Entomology, Department of Entomology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, National Science Foundation Integrated Graduate Education and Research Training - Vertically Integrated Training in Genomics Fellow

GPA: 3.87/4.00

Thesis Title: Transcriptional effects of indirect predator cues in the brain of eared Spodoptera frugiperda (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) moths exposed to bat ultrasound (Link)

May 2010  2014    

Bachelor of Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences

Graduated with Highest Honors, Bronze Tablet Scholar - Top 3% of College

GPA: 3.95/4.00


Fall 2016  Present

Research Volunteer, Center for Medical, Agricultural, and Veterinary Entomology, United States Department of Agriculture, Gainesville, FL

  • Advised by Dr. Paul Shirk, Dr. Rob Meagher, and Dr. Richard Mankin
  • Conducting dissertation research on the predator-induced reproductive effects of bat ultrasound on Helicoverpa zea (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) fitness and stress physiology
  • Carrying out sex-specific neural and hormonal manipulation experiments to pinpoint the stress-induced mechanisms which regulate the fitness responses observed in moths exposed to ultrasound

Fall 2016  Present

Graduate Student Fellow, Kawahara Lab, McGuire Center for Lepidoptera & Biodiversity, Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida

  • Investigating the behavioral, physiological, and genomic mechanisms which drive patterns of prey avoidance and predation risk assessment across heterogeneous landscapes
  • Examining transcriptomic signals of predator-induced stress in the brains, pterothoracic ganglia, and auditory neurons of ultrasonic-sensitive moths exposed to predation cues
  • Advised by Dr. Akito Kawahara

Spring 2015                                                                                                                                                                   

         Student Fellow, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama

  • Took part in an intensive tropical field ecology course focused on integrating genomics with natural history
  • Developed experimental approaches to test the "Landscape of Fear" hypothesis in a co-evolved predator-prey system by examining the spatial distribution of nocturnal butterflies, their stress gene expression, and bat echolocation calls along a gradient of predation risk
  • Advised by Dr. Steve Taylor, Dr. Rachel Page, and Dr. Owen McMillan

Fall 2014

         Epikarst Communities of Illinois, Illinois Natural History Survey, Taylor Macroinvertebrate Ecology Laboratory

  • Built drip collecting apparatus for collecting organisms living within subterranean drip water from stalactites
  • Described the community of copepods, amphipods, midge larvae, and worms that live within the epikarst
  • Advised by Dr. Steve Taylor

Summer 2014        

Research Assistant, Illinois Natural History Survey, Taylor Macroinvertebrate Ecology Laboratory

  • Assisted with aquatic and terrestrial macroinvertebrate collection and processing
  • Collected and aided in analysis of various environmental data associated with Illinois caves and waterways
  • Advised by Dr. Steve Taylor 

Fall 2013 & Spring 2014 

Undergraduate Researcher, University of Illinois, Fraterrigo Systems Ecology Laboratory

  • Conducted independent research on the mechanisms underlying the biogeochemical manipulation of soil carbon and nitrogen by invasive Japanese stiltgrass (Microstegium vimineum)
  • Advised by Dr. Jennifer Fraterrigo

Summers 2012 & 2013      

Research Intern, University of Illinois, College of ACES Office of Research Summer Internship Program

  • Carried out studies on the impacts that invasive Microstegium vimineum has on passerine nesting success and forest carbon and nitrogen cycles
  • Utilized GIS to produce private land management maps
  • Lead and participated in outreach events for the U.S. Forest Service and the University of Illinois
  • Advised by Dr. Jennifer Fraterrigo, Dr. Michael Ward, and Mr. James Kirkland

Spring 2013         

Undergraduate Researcher and Assistant, University of Illinois, Miller Conservation Biology & Landscape Ecology Laboratory

  • Conducted independent research on host selection and its drivers in brown-headed cowbirds (Molothrus ater)
  • Advised by Dr. James Miller

Winter 2012        

Study Abroad Research in Bioanthropology, La Suerte Biological Research Station, Costa Rica

  • Completed a study on the effects of anthropogenic forest fragmentation and disturbance on the behavior, home range, and habitat utilization of mantled howler monkeys (Alouatta palliata)
  • Advised by Dr. Paul Garber

Fall 2012    

Research Assistant, University of Illinois, Miller Conservation Biology & Landscape Ecology Laboratory

  • Assisted a graduate student with a study concerning grassland fires and their impacts on grassland birds
  • Advised by Dr. James Miller and Mr. Tim Lyons

Spring 2012    

Research Assistant, University of Illinois, Wahl Aquatic Ecology Laboratory 

  • Assisted a graduate student with data entry and analysis on a project concerning predatory behavior interactions between muskellunge and large mouth bass
  • Advised by Mr. Corey Deboom


November 2016 – Present      

Teaching Aide, Upward Bound Program, Santa Fe Community College, Gainesville, FL

  • Mentoring high school students at schools servicing rural communities neighboring Gainesville, FL during after-school tutoring sessions and SAT/ACT Test Preparation sessions on weekends; 5 hrs/week


National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellow, 2016 - 2019

University of Florida Graduate School Fellow, 2019-2021

National Science Foundation Integrated Graduate Education and Research Training - Vertically Integrated Training in Genomics Fellow, 2014-2016


  • Honorable Mention, University of Florida’s Elegance of Science Art Contest, 2017
  • First Place, Nature Category, UIUC School of Integrative Biology’s Photo Competition, 2016
  • University of Illinois’ Bronze Tablet Award Recipient 2014
  • Illinois Water Conference Scholarship Recipient 2014
  • Outstanding Senior in the NRES Fish and Wildlife Conservation Concentration 2014
  • Member of Phi Kappa Phi Academic Honors Society 2014
  • Member of Phi Eta Sigma Academic Honors Society 2010-2014
  • Illinois Federation for Outdoor Resources Merit Scholarship 2012-2014
  • President’s Merit Award 2010-2014
  • Dean’s List 2010-2014
  • Wilmer Hellenthal Scholarship 2013
  • Jonathan Baldwin Turner Undergraduate Research Fellowship 2012
  • Orville G. Bentley Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research 2012
  • E. M. & Martha C. Chandler Merit Scholarship 2012
  • Vernon McGinnis Merit Scholarship 2012
  • I4I Study Abroad Scholarship 2012
  • Campus Merit Award 2010-2012


Triant, D.A., S.D. Cinel, and A.Y. Kawahara. Lepidoptera genomes: current knowledge, gaps and future directions. Current Opinions in Insect Science. (In review)

S.D. Cinel and Akito Y. Kawahara. Predator-induced insect stress responses: A mechanistic review of taxon- and sensory-specific biases. Journal of Insect Physiology. (In review)

Halsey, S., S.D. Cinel, J. Wilson, T.J. Bell and M. Bowles. 2017. Predicting population viability of a monocarpic perennial dune thistle using individual-based models. Ecological Modeling 359, 363 – 371. 

Lyons, T.P., S.D. Cinel, and J.R. Miller. Nest Selection in Brown-Headed Cowbirds: Perceived Success and Host Suitability. Journal of Field Ornithology. (In Review)

S.D. Cinel, & S.J. Taylor. Epikarst groundwater ecosystems of southwestern Illinois: a sensitive yet unstudied faunal element. Speleobiology. (In Preparation)


Cinel, S.D., S.J. Taylor, and O. McMillan. Nocturnal bats and butterflies: a landscape-genomic approach to characterizing a landscape of fear. Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute Fellows and Interns Symposium. March 27, 2015. Poster session.

Cinel, S.D. and S.J. Taylor. Epikarstic groundwater ecosystems in Illinois: a sensitive but unstudied faunal element. Illinois Water 2014 Conference. October 14-15, 2014. Poster session.

Cinel, S.D. and J.M. Fraterrigo. The effects of Japanese stiltgrass on forest biogeochemical cycles.  UIUC Undergraduate Research Symposium. April, 2014. Champaign, IL. Poster session.

Cinel, S.D. and J.M. Fraterrigo.  The effects of Japanese stiltgrass on forest biogeochemical cycles.  UIUC Summer Research Internship Symposium. September 2013. Champaign, IL. Oral presentation. 

Cinel, S.D. and M.P. Ward.  The impacts of invasive Microstegium vimineum on the nesting success of passerine population in southern Illinois.  UIUC Summer Research Internship Symposium.  August 2012. Simpson, IL. Oral presentation.


S.D. Cinel. May 2017. Sigma Xi Grants-In-Aid of Research Recipient. Investigating the Neurohormonal and Sex-Biased Nature of Ultrasonic Bat Call-Induced Fitness Impacts in the Stored Product Pest Plodia interpunctella (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae). $1000 for 1 year.

S.D. Cinel. February 2017. Brian Riewald Memorial Fund Research Grant Recipient. University of Florida, Department of Biology Annual Grants Competition. Determining the Physiological and Molecular Mechanisms Affecting Induced Stress Responses and Fitness After Long-Term Exposure to Bat Ultrasound in an Agricultural Pest Moth.  $300 in research support.

S.D. Cinel. April 2016. Fulbright U.S. Student Program Grant Recipient. Exploring Predator-Induced Transcriptional Stress Responses of the Corn Earworm Pest. Declined due to conflict with other fellowship.

S.D. Cinel. December 2015. Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute Research Support Stipend. The Landscape of Fear: Characterizing Predator-Induced Stress in an Agricultural Pest. $700.

S.D. Cinel. September 2015. NSF IGERT Vertically Integrated Training in Genomics Research Support Grant. The Landscape of Fear: Characterizing Predator-Induced Stress in an Agricultural Pest. $5000.

S.D. Cinel. June 2015 Francis M. and Harlie M. Clark Research Support Grant. A Landscape-Genomic Approach to Characterizing a Landscape of Fear. $1000 for 1 year.

S.D. Cinel. 2014. The Impacts of White-Nose Syndrome on Natural Predator-Prey Dynamics in Southwestern Illinois. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Graduate College Master’s Project Travel Grant. $400 for 1 year.

Taylor, S.J., M.L. Niemiller, and S.D. Cinel. 2014. Threats analysis and conservation actions for the Illinois Cave Amphipod: Vulnerability assessment of groundwater quality, land use and climate change impacts. Department of Natural Resources. $35,000 for 2 years (1 October 2014 – 30 September 2016).

Taylor, S.J. and S.D. Cinel. 2014. Epikarstic groundwater ecosystems in Illinois: a sensitive but unstudied faunal element. Illinois Water Resources Council. $7,567 for 8 months (1 May 2014 – 31 December 2014). 


I2LResearch Ltd. donation to S.D. Cinel in the amount of $1000 on behalf of work completed by collaborator Dr. Richard Mankin (USDA).

Fundraised over $1800.00 on for travel support to attend the 2017 Workshop on Genomics in Cesky-Krumlov, Czech Republic.


May 2017 – Present, PLOS One Peer Reviewer, 1 paper reviewed to date


May 2017 – Present, Elected for the positions of Seminar Support and Green Team member for the Biology Graduate Student Association at the University of Florida.

August 2016 – Present, Member of the Biology Graduate Student Association at the University of Florida.

May 2016, Planned and carried out an insect petting zoo demonstration to nearly 100 kindergarten and 2nd grade students at St. Clements Elementary School in Chicago, IL.

February 2016, Aided in set-up and running insect petting zoos, an annual insect themed art contest for local grade schoolers, and presenting collections of diverse, dried specimens from around the world at the University of Illinois Department of Entomology’s 31st Annual Insect Fear Film Festival.

November 2015, Presented an educational insect petting zoo exhibit to over 100 3rd through 5th grade students at St. Joseph’s Elementary School in Wilmette, IL.

July 2015, Assisted STRI and the Make a Wish Foundation by helping a Make a Wish patient reach their dream of becoming an entomologist through taking them out into the jungle during the night and showing them how to run a light-trap setup.

June 2015, Featured story in the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute’s Tropicos magazine on the suite of intricate chemical relationships tropical flora and fauna have with each other and their environment.


June 2015, Brought in insects and arachnids to showcase and presented a lesson on insects, arachnids, and other arthropods to over 80 K-3rd graders at St. Tarcissus Elementary School in Park Forest, IL.

August 2014 – 2016, Member of the Entomology Graduate Student Association at U. Illinois, Volunteered at the Orpheum Children's Science Museum. Talked with adult and children visiting the museum about insect ecology, conservation biology, and the pathway to becoming professional scientists.

April – May 2015, Volunteered at the Gamboa Discovery Elementary School in Gamboa, Panama. Presented a small group discussion about my research and brought in live and preserved research specimens to show the students.

August 2nd, 2013. Hosted the U. Illinois Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences' Annual Field Day Outreach Event in Simpson, IL. Several speakers, local landowners, National Forest officials, State Park officials, and members of the public were invited to share in an afternoon of seminars and open discussion on issues ranging from sustainable landscaping to endangered species management.


April 2017 – Present, Animal Behavior Society, Annual Student Member

March 2017 – Present, Sigma Xi Scientific Research Honor Society, Annual Associate Student Member

October 2016 – Present, The Southern Lepidopterists’ Society, Annual Student Member

September 2016  Present, American Institutes of Biological Sciences, Annual Individual Student Member

September 2015 – Present, Ecological Society of America, Annual Student Member


Workshop on Genomics. 8  21 January, 2017. Intensive two-week course in bioinformatic applications and many topics involving genomics; hosted by international faculty directors of in Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic.

Workshop on Bat-Moth Interactions (Bombycoidea Workshop). 1 – 14 August, 2016. Held in conjunction by the Kawahara lab at the University of Florida and the Barber lab at Boise State University at the Wildsumaco Biological Station in Napo, Ecuador.

UCLA/La Kretz Workshop in Conservation Genomics. 22 – 27 March, 2016. Held by UCLA and the La Kretz Center for California Conservation Science.

Introduction to Linux and Biocluster. September 2015. Held by HPCBio at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

RNA-Seq Analysis with Biocluster and R. September – November 2015. Held by HPCBio at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.   


  • Bash, Python, Perl
  • High-performance supercomputing
  • R statistical programming language
  • Transcriptome assembly, annotation, differential expression analysis, and best-practices
  • Microsoft’s Office Suite          
  • QGIS, ArcGIS, and ArcMap           
  • NetLogo agent-based modeling                          
  • NEURON neural network modeling language        
  • UNIX navigation, data curation, and text manipulation            
  • Swift programming language (iOS) & XCode
  • Extensive field research experience in eastern U.S. hardwood, southeastern Pine forests, and Central American tropical forests
  • Extensive laboratory experience in DNA, RNA, and protein extraction, sample preparation, molecular sequencing, Gene Ontology and KEGG pathway analysis, and mass spectrometric validation