Jennifer O'Donnell

As manager of biological laboratories at UR and an expert on animal care, Jennifer O’Donnell oversees the care of the Spiders men's basketball team's live spider mascot, Tarrant the tarantula, as well as about a dozen other types of spiders. One of her latest additions is a black widow. O'Donnell and her students care for and study the spiders.

She loves to show off the spiders and educate people on the many valuable purposes they serve. Not only are they an important food source for birds and fish, they also keep pesky insects at bay in gardens. Their venom also is used in research for new medicines and eco-friendly pesticides. Also, designers have created new technologies and plans for architecture by studying spider webs.

Contact Sunni Brown (sbrown5@richmond.edu), director of media and public relations, to connect with O'Donnell.