Graduate Student Profiles

Jeremy Abels

Credentials: PhD Student - Weber Lab

Address:
I am interested in how climate change is impacting gene expression and epigenetics in North American fishes.

Lab: https://weberlab.integrativebiology.wisc.edu/

Kaitlyn Abshire (She/her/hers)

Credentials: PhD Student - Sharma Lab

Address:
I study snails and slugs. I am specifically interested in embryogenesis, the development of their tentacles (eye stalks and olfactory stalks), and how pollution affects the development of snails and slugs.

Lab: http://www.sharmalabuw.org

Ayken Askapuli

Credentials: PhD Student - Hawks Lab

Address:
I study human population genetics and anthropology. In particular, I am interested in understanding the evolutionary forces and events that have shaped the genomes of modern human populations in Central Asia and Siberia.

Angelica Bautista

Credentials: PhD Student - Damschen Lab

Address:
My dissertation research broadly seeks to determine how future climate change predictions, mainly extreme precipitation events, interact with fire and land use history to alter seed survival.

Lab: https://damschenlab.zoology.wisc.edu/

Jamie Botsch (he/him)

Credentials: PhD Student - Ives Lab

Address:
I study how interactions between midges and algae vary across space and time and how this variability shapes population dynamics and ecosystem processes.

Lab: https://ives.labs.wisc.edu/

Roberto Carrera-Martinez

Credentials: PhD Student - Schoville Lab

Address:
I study earthworm evolution, systematics and taxonomy in the Caribbean Islands. My research focusses on evolution and genomics of large size earthworms in Puerto Rico and species diversity and taxonomy.
Lab: https://molecularecology.russell.wisc.edu/roberto-carrera-martinez/

Katherine Charton (She/hers)

Credentials: PhD Student - Damschen Lab

Address:
I broadly study plant ecology with a particular emphasis on community response to climate and disturbance. I use field experimentation to understand how communities will adapt to changing conditions and inform land management and conservation priorities.

Lab: https://damschenlab.zoology.wisc.edu/

Tiago da Silva Ribeiro (He/him)

Credentials: PhD Student - Pool Lab

Address:
I use population genetics and genomics to understand the genetic basis of adaptation to novel environments.

Lab: https://www.johnpool.net/

Juanita Diaz (she/they)

Credentials: PhD Student - Lee Lab

Address:
I study the evolutionary genomics and microbiome of the Eurytemora affinis species complex of copepods. I am primarily interested in examining which genes drive freshwater adaptation in these copepods and how their microbiome differs between salt and freshwater populations.

Lab: https://carollee.labs.wisc.edu/Lee.html

Dahn-young Dong (He/him)

Credentials: PhD Student - Schoville Lab

Address:
I research on how populations persist across spatial scales and evolve over landscapes.
Lab: https://molecularecology.russell.wisc.edu/

Jacob Fredette-Roman

Credentials: PhD Student - Lee Lab

Address:
My research is on a copepod species that has shown invasive potential from saltwater to freshwater environments. I’m interested in understanding the evolutionary mechanisms of these invasions to predict how this copepod species will fare in the face of climate change.

Lab:  https://carollee.labs.wisc.edu/Lee.html

Mark Fuka (he/him)

Credentials: MS Student - Orrock Lab

Address:
My research focuses on the effects that invasive plants can have on the activity of small mammals, leading to increased vegetative cover resulting in elevated levels of seed removal. I seek to understand how the seasonal leaf phenology of the invasive shrub common buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica) can impact rodent seed removal across all four seasons.
Lab: https://orrocklab.zoology.wisc.edu/

Gui Gainett (He/him/his)

Credentials: PhD Student - Sharma Lab

Address:
I am studying the genetic mechanisms behind the evolution of diverse appendage types in chelicerates (ex: daddy-long-legs, spiders, horseshoe crabs). Embryos, development, genomes and evolution.
Lab: http://www.sharmalabuw.org/guilherme-gainett.html

Chrissy Grebe (she/her/hers)

Credentials: PhD Student - Strier Lab

Address:
I study the thermal physiology of chacma baboons by combining field data and biophysical modeling to investigate the species' plasticity amid changing environmental conditions.

Lab: https://strierlab.anthropology.wisc.edu/

Michelle Homann (she/they)

Credentials: PhD Student - Damschen Lab

Address:
I am interested in studying plant community and climate change ecology in fire-maintained grasslands with a specific emphasis on restoration outcomes. Throughout my dissertation work, I plan to investigate the roles of fire timing, community assembly, and the overarching implications of a changing climate as drivers of plant community composition.
Lab: https://damschenlab.zoology.wisc.edu/

Ben Iuliano (He/him)

Credentials: PhD Student - Gratton Lab

Address:
I study the ecological and social dimension of beneficial insect conservation in agricultural landscapes. My current research focuses on lady beetles and other predatory insects that provide natural pest control services. I take a landscape approach to understanding how patterns of land use affect the temporal dynamics of insect predators and their prey, as well as how growers value and manage these insects on their farms.

Lab: https://gratton.entomology.wisc.edu/

Timon Keller

Credentials: PhD Student - Turner Lab

Address:
I study how climate change and disturbance regimes impact ecosystem processes and structure in forests of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.
Lab: http://landscape.zoology.wisc.edu/index.html

Emily Kerns (she/her)

Credentials: PhD Student - Weber Lab

Address:
I study the role epigenetics plays in evolution of natural populations. I am especially interested in how heritable epigenetics may influence species (mal)adaptive responses to rapid environmental fluctuations as climate change advances.
Lab:  https://weberlab.integrativebiology.wisc.edu/

Nathan Kiel (he/him/his)

Credentials: PhD Student - Turner Lab

Address:
I study the effects of fire on forests and plant communities in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem to understand how changing climate and increasingly frequent, more severe fire may impact forest ecosystems across the western US. I am also developing a teaching module that I will implement in undergraduate classrooms on biogeochemical cycling in the context of forest fires and climate change.
Lab:  http://landscape.zoology.wisc.edu/

Benjamin Klementz

Credentials: PhD Student - Sharma Lab

Address:
I'm broadly interested in the mechanisms underlying the diversification of arachnids, including whole genome duplication and subsequent rates of gene retention, as well as genetic drivers of body plan patterning as they relate to novel structures. I use a mix of phylogenomic and functional genetic approaches, with daddy longlegs and vinegaroons as my main systems.

Lab: http://www.sharmalabuw.org/

Garrett Knowlton (he/him)

Credentials: MS Student - Turner Lab

Address:
My research will focus on modeling future forest landscapes under divergent climate and disturbance scenarios. I will explore the implications of future landscape trajectories for conservation and biodiversity.

Lab: https://turnerlab.ibio.wisc.edu/

Jade Kochanski (she/her)

Credentials: PhD student - Gratton Lab

Address:
My research is at the intersection of population genetics, restoration- , conservation- , landscape - ecology. I use a population genetics approach to understand whether prairie restorations sustain and increase pollinator populations. In other words, the source-sink dynamics of bumble bees and the success of prairie restoration as a conservation tool.

Lab: https://gratton.entomology.wisc.edu/

Arielle Link (she/her)

Credentials: PhD - Turner Lab

Address:
I study how changing forest disturbance regimes impact ecosystem function and nutrient cycling across spatial and temporal scales in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. As wildfire increases in frequency and severity throughout the west, it is increasingly important to understand how converging drivers of change will affect post-fire regeneration and forest resilience. I am also passionate about advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in the field of ecology.

Lab: https://turnerlab.ibio.wisc.edu/

Elizabeth Locke (She/her/hers)

Credentials: PhD Student - Orrock Lab

Address:
I am studying the effects of invasive plants on tick populations. Specifically, I am interested in the impact of common buckthorn on the prevalence of Lyme disease and how that corresponds to disease risk in humans.

Lab: https://orrocklab.zoology.wisc.edu

Alyse Maksimoski (She/they)

Credentials: PhD Student - Riters Lab

Address:
I study the neurobiological modulation of social behavior. Specifically, I currently focus on the role of the mesolimbic system and its associated nuclei in the motivation and reward of flocking behavior in songbirds.

Robert Melde (He/him)

Credentials: PhD Student - Sharp Lab

Address:
I am interested in studying what affects the rate and spectrum of mutations using mutation accumulation.
Lab:  https://sharp.genetics.wisc.edu/

Brandon Polzin (he/him/his)

Credentials: PhD Student - Riters Lab

Address:
My research focus is on the neural regulation of vocal-social communication in songbirds. I am particularly interested in identifying the role of shared neural mechanisms that underlie both thermoregulation and social behavior.
Lab:  https://integrativebiology.wisc.edu/staff/riters-lauren/

Max Reynolds (he/him)

Credentials: MS Student - Weber Lab

Address:
I'm studying the ecology and population genetics of the potentially invasive threespine stickleback in the Great Lakes.

Lab: https://weberlab.integrativebiology.wisc.edu/

Trey Sasser (he/him)

Credentials: PhD Student - Weber Lab

Address:
I study questions related to the evolution of immune defenses in threespine stickleback. I’m particularly interested in how costs shape the evolution of immune defenses and how climate change will alter host-parasite dynamics.

Lab: https://adaptationmatters.wixsite.com/home

Emily Setton

Credentials: PhD Student - Sharma Lab

Address:
Two ontogenetic processes that I focus on are antero-posterior segmentation and appendage development in spiders. I use a combination of bioinformatic tools, sequencing approaches, and gene silencing experiments to investigate how conserved transcription factors establish regional identity, with the mainstay of my work in the model system Parasteatoda tepidariorum. Other projects I work on incorporate investigation of appendage evolution in insects and sea spiders.
Lab:  Sharmalabuw.org

Ojaswee Shrestha

Credentials: PhD Student - Turner Lab

Address:
I work in the intersection of landscape ecology and agroecology for a project related to the sustainability of Food Energy Water Ecosystems (FEWE) in the agriculturally dominated landscapes of the Upper Mississippi River Basin. Some of the few topics I focus on are spatial and temporal aspects of sensitivity of croplands vs. semi-natural vegetation, ecosystem services and biodiversity connectivity in the landscape.

Lab: http://144.92.58.161/

Matthew Smith

Credentials: PhD Student - Grinblat lab

Address:
I am studying development of zebrafish, specifically looking at the transcription factor Zic2 and its impact on neural and craniofacial development.

Lab: grinblat.neuro.wisc.edu

Bryce Solin

Credentials: MS Student - Weber Lab

Address:
Investigating Coevolution of Three Spined Stickleback and its parasite S. Solidus. Currently focused on physiological differences across populations of S. solidus.
Lab: https://weberlab.integrativebiology.wisc.edu/

Anne Weerda

Credentials: PhD Student - Ehrlich Lab

Address:
I am using data from the lab and field to get a better understanding of how early neurological and physiological development interact with ecological factors to influence survival in larval fish.

Lab: https://www.neuro.fish/

Ruiling Zhong

Credentials: PhD Student - Claire Richardson's Lab

Address:
I'm working on characterizing the endolysosomal homeostasis behavior in C.elegans neurons, and looking for upstream regulators of this process.

Lab: https://therichardsonlab.org

Patricia Zito

Credentials: PhD Student - Lee Lab

Address:
I will working on finding signature of selection and structural changes in copepods adapted under different salinity levels. While I don't have a thesis yet, I'm excited to work more with bioinformatics, molecular evolution and evolutionary genomics.

Lab: https://carollee.labs.wisc.edu/Lee.html