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Current Lab Members

Graduate Students

Amanda Gorton (co-advised with David Moeller)
Amanda is investigating the factors that shape the scale of local adaptation, using urban and rural populations of ragweed as an empirical system



Tuomas Hämälä
Tuomas is conducting population genomic analyses of cacao.  He is working to both investigate basic evolutionary processes as well as identify genes that are potentially responsible for defending cacao against economically important pathogens.  Tuomas earned his PhD with Outi Savolainen at Univ. Oulu, Finland, his dissertation work investigated Local adaptation in Arabidopsis lyrata.

Liana Burghardt
Liana is investigating the extent of and links between genomic, transcriptomic, and phenotypic variation in both Medicago and Ensifer symbionts.  We have been using a select-and-resequence method that allows us to efficiently assay strain fitness when strains are part of multi-strain communities.  She earned her PhD working with Kathleen Donohue at Duke.

Brendan Epstein
Brendan is back in the lab after spending a couple of years as a post-doc with Andrew Srofer at WSU.  He has been contributing to various projects by analyzing genomic and transcriptomic data and has been exploring the performance of GWAS in bacteria, a system in which such analyses are challenging due to heterogeneity in genome contents as well as long-distance linkage-disequilibrium.


Former Members

Former Post-docs

Courney Passow - currently a member of the Funded Services team at the University of Minnesota Genomics Center (UMGC)
Courtney is a UMN College of Biological Sciences Grand Challenges in Biology Post-doctoral Fellow working with Suzanne McGaugh (mostly) and myself.  Her work is integrating coexpression networks and population genetics to understand evolution an dadaptation in utrient and light-poor environments, using Astyanax mexicanus as a model.

Jeremy Yoder - currently Assistant Professor California State University Northridge
Jeremy mostly focused on using genomic data to understand local adaptation and the evolution and population genetics of symbiotic interactions.  While in the lab he also was involved in using association genetics to identify targets of local adaptation, investigated the phylogenomics of the genus.  In addition to his biology-related research, Jeremy was active in research to understand the participation and experience of LGBTQ in STEM.  He also was (and still is) active in communicating science (and related issues) through to non-scientists.

John Stanton-Geddes - currently a data analyst in the private sector.
John worked on sequence-based GWAS analyses as well as the potential for using hihg-density markers to estimate heritability in natural populations.  

Timothy Paape - currently a post-doc at University of Zurich
Tim worked on population genomics (recombination, selection) and association genetics in Medicago.

Antoine Branca - Maître de conférences (Assistant Professor), Université Paris 11, Orsay
Antoine worked on population genomics of Medicago and Sinorhizobia.

Stephen Keller - Associate Professor, University of Vermont
Steve used population genetic approaches to investigate the demographic history and local adaptation in balsam poplar.

Maurine Neiman - Associate Professor, Department of Biology, University of Iowa
Maurine  spent a year in my lab investigating the molecular evolution and population genetics of protease inhibitor genes in Poplar.

Jennifer Lau - Associate Professor of Plant Biology, Michigan State University, Kellogg Biological Station
Jen collaborated on research investigating potential evolutionary impacts of increasing concentrations of atmospheric CO2 concentrations.

David Moeller - Associate Professor, Department of Plant Biology, University of Minnesota
Dave collaborated on research investigating the molecular evolution of plant immunity genes and characterizing the population structure of teosinte (Zea mays ssp. parviglumis) and was the lead on work investigating the ecological and evolutionary limits of species range expansion.

Former Graduate Students

Joseph Guihlin - currently a post-doc working on genomic analyses at the Otago Medical School, University of Otago New Zealand
Joseph joined the lab with extensive computational experience and expertise.  He has been providing informatics support fot the Medicago HapMap project while working on a dissertation that integrates development of computational tools, the role of copy number variation in phenotypic variation in Medicago, and the population genomics of Sinorhizobia.

Derek Nedveck MS - currently working as a data analyst in the private sector.
As a graduate student he worked on local adaptation in legume-rhizobia symbisosis in Minnesota populations of Lotus

Mohamed Yakub
Mo is currently the Scientific Outreach Manager at SciLine, an editorially independent free service for journalists covering science, health, the environment and agriculture. Based at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Washington. Prior to SciLine, Mo was the Outreach and Education Coordinator for the Stakman-Borlaug Center for Sustainable Plant Health here at the Univ. of MN.
As a graduate student Mo investigated the how urban environments affect evolution of plant populations.  Mo also was a co-founder of Market Science, a highly successful outreach program shares science through hands-on learning activities for kids, answering scientific questions for market goers, and creating conversations between researchers and their communities.

Brendan Epstein (co-advised with Mike Sadowsky) -- he's back and currently working with me as a post-doc.
Brendan is investigating the population genomics of rhizobia.  In addition to standard SNP-based surveys of diversity he is currently exploring the evolutionary history of duplications and horizontally-transferred genes. 

John Stanton-Geddes (coadvised by Ruth Shaw) -- data analyst in the private sector
John's dissertation investigated the ecological genetics of habitat specialization and range limitations.

Katy Heath - Associate Professor, Department of Plant Biology University of Illinois
Katy's dissertation research investigated evolutionary forces that may maintain genetic variation in the Medicago-Sinorhizobia symbiosis.

Laurie Stone - MS (coadvised by Ruth Shaw)

Peter Tiffin
612 624-7406

Dept. of Plant Biology
Univ. of Minnesota
250 Biosciences
St. Paul, MN 55108

Graduate Faculty:
Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior, and Plant Biology