Photo by George Eckhardt

Photo by George Eckhardt

New Assistant Professor of Biology Emilie Gray may be surprised by the efforts that CC inadvertently made to help support her research.

This summer the old animal suites in the Barnes Science Center basement were remodeled into a multiuse biology/chemistry/anatomy lab, and the adjoining labs were remodeled to improve ventilation and to better meet the needs of current faculty, including new faculty hire Gray. Gray, who holds a Ph.D. in ecophysiology from the University of California-Irvine, specializes in the study of mosquitoes.

The remodeled lab includes an area Gray uses that facilities services calls “the mosquito room,” which has light colored, welded seam vinyl flooring.

In a turn of events that not even Michael Crichton could have scripted, when the vinyl flooring was installed, the installer spotted a real mosquito embedded in the surface of Gray’s flooring, apparently trapped there during the manufacturing process. “You can see the body, legs, and wings as if it were embedded in clear glass. The mosquito must have been rolled into the liquid vinyl material,” says George Eckhardt, assistant director of facilities.

Gray earned her M.Sc. in environmental studies from the University of Orleans and the Institut National Agronomique Paris-Grignon in France, and wrote her thesis in French. She says having the embedded mosquito in the lab is “la cerise sur le gateau” (the cherry on the cake). That’s certainly better than a fly in the ointment!