Juanita Diaz (she/they)

Credentials: PhD Student - Lee Lab

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

Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree in iBio?

I have always been fascinated by genetics and evolution – how different combinations of only four nucleotides create the diversity of life on this planet, and how changes in an organism’s DNA sequence can lead to changes in traits that impact how well suited an organism is to its environment. I also like using multiple approaches to investigate a question to create a more complete understanding of the world around us. The Lee Lab’s multi-disciplinary approach to studying freshwater adaptation in copepods is a great fit for those interests. Additionally, the great health insurance for graduate students and my love of winter were major factors that caused me to choose UW-Madison.

Why or what do you love about the program?

The freedom of the program and the supportive grad student community

Future Plans: Professor of genetics/evolution at a primarily undergraduate institute

Fun Fact: I enjoy playing games (board, card, video) in my free time, both in person and virtually with my family who live in NY. My current favorites are Borderlands, Elder Scrolls Online, and Pokemon.

Educational Background:

B.S. in Zoology – State University of New York (SUNY) at Oswego, 2016

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