During her graduate and postdoctoral work, Moran studied the evolution of life cycles and host plant utilization, especially in aphids. In 1990, she began work on bacterial symbioses in aphids and other insects. She has shown that intimate symbiotic associations date to the origins of major groups of insects, millions of years in the past. She has used genomic and experimental work to show that these associations provide hosts with essential molecules and defenses. She also has made contributions involving general principles of bacterial genomics and evolution, specifically showing that strictly clonal replication of symbionts leads to loss of genes and genome reduction. Currently, she investigates heritable bacterial symbionts in sap-feeding insects and also the bacterial gut symbionts living in honey bees and bumble bees. She has published more than 200 peer-reviewed scientific papers.
Moran has been the mentor to more than 30 graduate students and postdoctoral researchers. Almost all of these are now established as independent researchers, mostly focusing on insect symbioses and insect evolution. She has sponsored more than 100 undergraduate researchers and has taught evolutionary biology to hundreds of undergraduate and graduate students. In Arizona, she established a high school research laboratory and course in which students conduct research on local insects. She has served as president of the Society for the Study of Evolution and as an editor for several journals, including Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, PLOS Biology, PLOS Genetics and Genome Biology and Evolution.
Moran has been elected to membership in the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Am
|Contact: Richard Levine|
Entomological Society of America