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Stress Resilience, Molecular Damage, and Fitness

Testing the Damage Fitness Model

Organisms can increase stress resilience when conditioned to a mild stressor during development, where as severe stress can decrease survival and reproduction. This context dependency makes it difficult to predict how a shift in an environment will affect an  individual and ultimately the success of a population. We currently lack predictive models and reliable biomarkers of stress resistance and resilience.


The goal of this project is integrate molecular measures of cellular damage, protection and repair using zebra finches with path analysis and Damage-Healing Mechanics from material engineering. Through this integration, we will develop mechanistic and predictive mathematical models, linking developmental and adult environments, epigenetic modifications, stress-induced molecular and cellular damage, and fitness indices.

Tropical Leaves


​This research is funded by the National Science Foundation

  • NSF-IOS, 2020-2024 

    • Title​: Integrating engineering theory and biological measures to model stress resilience, damage, and fitness-related consequences

    • PIs: Haruka Wada, Tonia Schwartz, Todd Sturey, Vinamra Agrawal


Press Release

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