CNS 2022 Plenary Speakers

The CNS Symposia are uniquely designed to encourage friendly discussions among peers with diverse interests. For that reason, CNS 2022 will be an in-person conference only.

Our Exciting Plenary Speakers:

Denise Dearing – "Detoxification of plant 2° compounds by mammalian herbivores"

Marcus Clauss (Virtual) – "Philosophies of current nutrition needs"

Shawn Wilder – “Carnivore Nutrition: An Arthropocentric Perspective



M. Denise Dearing

Dr. M. Denise Dearing, is a nutritional ecologist who along with the members of her research team, seek to understand the strategies and mechanisms used by mammalian herbivores to circumvent, metabolize, and even co-opt the plant toxins naturally occurring in their diets. Her research program integrates molecular, genomic, and analytical tools to address physiological, ecological, and evolutionary questions. She began her academic journey by sampling a variety of offerings at community colleges in central Connecticut, before completing a B.S. at Eastern Connecticut State University, M.S. at the University of Vermont, and Ph.D. at the University of Utah. Professor Dearing conducted postdoctoral training in Australia as a Fulbright Scholar, and later at the University of Wisconsin. She joined the faculty at the University of Utah in 1998 and is currently a Distinguished Professor in the School of Biological Sciences. Professor Dearing’s research has been funded by several agencies including the National Science Foundation, Fulbright Foundation and Humboldt Foundation.

Marcus Clauss

Marcus Clauss, *1970, is a veterinarian by education and has worked all this life in animal research - starting from nutrition and digestive anatomy and physiology, and expanding into evolutionary biology, life history, and animal husbandry, and erratically also into the philosophy and integrity of science. For the last 16 years, he was at the University of Zurich (Switzerland) as ‘head of research’ at the Clinic for Zoo Animals, Exotic Pets and Wildlife, and has (co)supervised a large number of students. On the one hand, he is keen on (re)using literature data, and on the other hand, he drove experimental work - both to test prevailing theories, and to slowly develop new concepts based on the resulting discrepancies.

Shawn Wilder

Dr. Shawn Wilder is an Associate Professor in the Department of Integrative Biology at Oklahoma State University. He received his M.S. and Ph.D. from Miami University in Ohio, followed by postdoctoral positions at Texas A&M University and the University of Sydney. In these positions, he has been fortunate to work with a range of engaging and productive colleagues, including many talented students. While most of his research has been on spiders, other studies have included praying mantids, flies, fire ants, and marsupial carnivores. These studies are united by a focus on nutrition that extends from studies of foraging behavior and nutrient intake, to life history traits of individuals, and the consequences of nutrition for food webs and ecosystems.

A major focus of the Wilder lab’s current research has been understanding how nutrients flow through arthropod food webs. Feeding experiments with spiders combined with nutritional assays have identified which components of prey are digestible versus indigestible and how these components vary among prey taxa. This work is being used to try to better unite the different currencies that have been used to study trophic transfers of nutrients, including elements and macronutrients. Feeding studies have also been expanded to examine excreta production by spiders and its consequences for soil and plant dynamics. Other recent work has been examining soil-plant-herbivore interactions to understand how variation in nutrient supply can affect the chemical form of nutrients and their transfer across trophic levels. The long-term goal of this research program is to gain a more mechanistic understanding of how nutrition helps to structure food webs and ecosystems.